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VOL. V, 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by 


In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of 

New- York. 

82 & 34 Beckman-street, X. Y. 


79 John-street. 


THE Commentary of Olshausen was carried through the Gospels, 
the Acts, and the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, 
Colossians, Ephesians, and Thessalonians, when it was arrested by 
his death. The task of completing it was assigned to his successor 
and former pupil, Dr. Ebrard, who associated with himself Aug. 
Wiesinger, also a former pupil of Olshausen, and like Ebrard, sym 
pathising thoroughly in the evangelical views of his venerated 
teacher. Ebrard has completed the Exposition of Hebrews and 
the Revelation ; Wiesinger, of Philippians, the Pastoral Epistles, 
James, and 1 Peter, and is engaged on the other Catholic Epistles. 
Both are men of sound evangelical views, and thorough biblical 
scholarship ; and if they want something of that depth of spiritual 
insight, and high genius which lend such a charm to the writings 
of Olshausen, they are by no means his inferiors in soundness of 
judgment, and exegetical acumen. If they enter less into ex 
tended discussions of topics, they will be found, on the contrary, 
more full and satisfactory to the philologist. Wiesinger is, indeed, 
sometimes over-minute and prolix, and the Editor has occasionally 
condensed his statements, and cancelled repetitions, without, how 
ever, sacrificing any valuable thought. On the whole both his work 
and that of Ebrard are marked by great learning, soundness, and 
ability, and being carried out on the plan and in the spirit of their 
predecessor s, they will constitute an entire Commentary on the New 
Testament, unique in its place, and of inestimable value to the 
Biblical student. 





1. The First Readers of the Epistle 9 

2. Of the Genuineness of the Epistle 16 

3. Time and Place of the Composition of the Epistle 20 

4. Course of Thought in the Epistle 23 

6. Literature 24 



1. Thanksgiving for Salvation in Christ 27 

2. Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Readers 42 

3. Of the Unity of the Believers in Christ 65 


4. The Harmony of the Faith 92 

5. Detached Moral Precepts 112 

6. Precepts for Matrimony and the Family 133 

7. Of the Spiritual Combat 146 



1. Of the Genuineness of the Epistle 157 

2. Of the False Doctrines which were Prevalent in Colossse 161 

3. Course of Thought in the Epistles 167 

4. Literature 168 





1. Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Readers in Salvation in Christ 169 

2. Warning against False Teachers 19 


3. General Ethical Precepts 22 1 

4. Special Moral Precepts 234 



1. Of the Occasion of the Epistles 245 

2. Of the Genuineness of the Epistles 248 

3. Course of Thought in the Epistles 250 

4. Literature 252 



1. Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Readers 253 

8 2, Account of Paul s Labours in Thessalonica 258 

3. Of Paul s Desire to see the Thessalonians 265 


4. Exhortations to a Holy Life 272 

5. Instructions as to Christ s Advent 277 

6. Concluding Exhortations 292 


1. Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Christians in Thessalonica 299 

2. Of the Conditions of the Happening of Christ s Advent 306 

3. Concluding Exhortations 335 



1. Of the Church at Philippi 343 

2. The Occasion and Contents of the Epistle 346 



3. The Time and Place of Composition 347 

4. Genuineness and Integrity of the Epistle, 

1. Genuineness 349 

2. Integrity 360 

5. Literature : 362 


1. Inscription and Thanksgiving for their Steadfastness in the Faith 363 

2. The Apostle s Statement respecting Himself. _ 372 

3. The Apostle s Earnest Wish with Respect to the Church 384 

4. Announcement of his Intention to send Timothy, and of his having sent back 

Epaphroditus 412 

5. "Warning against the Possibility of being Led Away 417 

6. Concluding Exhortations to Particular Individuals, and to the Church at large. 

Expression of Thanks. Salutations 445 



1. The Problem 465 

2. The External Testimonies 466 

3. Solution of the Problem on the Supposition of their being not Genuine. Their 

Genuineness Impugned and Defended 467 

4. Attempt at the Solution of the Problem on the Supposition of the Genuine 
ness of the Epistles 500 

5. Literature . 542 



I. The Historical Testimonies of the Epistle concerning itself. 543 

II. Critical Objections 551 


1. Inscription and Salutation 555 

2. Instructions in Regard to the Appointment of Presbyters 563 

3. "What Titus is to Teach in Opposition to the False Teachers, and how he is to 

Act 587 

4. Personal Matters. Salutations. Conclusion 619 

Appendix to the Introduction to the foregoing Epistle 621 






PAUL came, for the first time, to Ephesus, the famous capital of 
proconsular Asia, as he, after a year and a half s sojourn in Corinth, 
was concluding his second missionary journey, and was travelling 
thence to Jerusalem. However, on this occasion he only touched at 
Ephesus, and stayed but a few days there (Acts xviii. 19, 20). Nev 
ertheless, he even then formed connexions, and was besought to pass 
a longer time there ; but a vow compelled him to haste ; he there 
fore soon took leave, though with the promise of returning thither 
for a longer visit. This promise he very soon performed ; after 
ending his journey, he left Jerusalem once more for his third mis 
sionary journey, and went through Galatia and Phrygia directly to 
Ephesus. Now, he found here so favourable a soil for the gospel, 
that he remained here two years and three months, and founded a 
prosperous church. (Acts xix. 8, 10.) He would probably have 
stopped there still longer, had not the goldsmith Demetrius obliged 
him, by a tumult, to leave the city. Meanwhile, the church in 
Ephesus had been sufficiently established. Judaism and Gentilism 
threatened it no more, but internal schisms through false teachers 
were imminent. When, therefore, Paul, in his last journey to Jerusa 
lem, passed through Miletus, he sent thither for the presbyters of the 
Ephesian church, and took leave of them in a moving speech. (Acts 
xx. 17-38.) At a later period John chose for himself Ephesus as a 
centre for his comprehensive labours in Asia Minor. Their effects 
were so considerable, that a few decennia later Pliny was already 
obliged to write to Trajan that paganism appeared to be almost en 
tirely lost in hither Asia. (Plin. Ep. x. 97.) 

To this important church in Ephesus the second of the shorter 
epistles of Paul is, according to its superscription and title, addressed. 
But extrinsic and intrinsic reasons combine to excite doubt as to that 
destination of the epistle. First, as to the extrinsic reasons. But 
little stress were to be laid on the fact in itself that MSS. B. and 
67 have not v E0rw in the text (for the former, the Codex Vati- 
canus, has at least the words in the margin, and that by the original 


hand, and in Codex 67 they are wanting only ex emendatione) , but 
this want becomes important by its coincidence with other data. 
For Tertullian informs us in his controversy with Marcion (adv. Marc, 
v. 11): prretereo hie et de alia epistolu, quam nos ad Ephesios pras- 
scriptum habemus, hferetici (Marcion cum suis) vero ad Laodicenos ; 
with which chapter xvii. of the same work is to be connected, where 
the words run : ecclesias quidem veritate (i. e. } according to mere eccle 
siastical tradition) epistolam istarn ad Ephesios habemus emissam,non 
ad Laodicenos ; sed Marcion ei titulum aliquanto interpolare (i. e., 
according to Tertullian s usual language, merely cOrrumpere, whether 
addenda or delendo) gestiit, quasi et in isto diligentissimus explora- 
tor. Nihil autcm de titulis interest, quum ad omnes scripserit Apos- 
tolus, non ad quosdam. According to this, therefore, even in the 
time of Tertullian our epistle was known as an Epistle to the Ephe- 
sians ; only Marcion and his sect declared it to be addressed to the 
Laodiceans. Tertullian does not intimate what reading they found 
in the passage Eph. i. 1, but it lies in the nature of the case that 
they could not have read iv E^eaw, if they considered the epistle as 
addressed to the Laodiceans. Now, true as might have been, on 
the whole, Tertullian s charge against Marcion, that he had altered 
the text of the Scriptures, so far as he received them, yet it is not 
easy to see what could here have influenced him to the alteration. 
Dogmatical reasons determined him in his alterations ; but these 
could find no application here. However, this notice of the African 
Father upon the Marcionite dealing with the epistle, becomes im 
portant only through the more accurate communication which we 
owe to Basil. (Basil. M. cont. Euriorn. operum, vol. i. p. 254, edit. 
Gamier.) For this Father gives us express information as to 
the state of the MSS., and that, too, of the old MSS., in the 
passage Eph. i. 1. He informs us that the reading was : rolg dyioig 
Tolg ovot Kal maroi<; ^ v Xpjaroj Irjaov, with the important addition : 
ovru yap nal oi irpb TJ/ZWV Trapadsduitam, Kal rjuslg ev rotf nakaiols r&v 
dvTtypd(po)v evprjKapev. Thus Basil grounds on tradition, and his 
own inspection of old MSS. the conviction, that the words ev E^eVw 
were wanting in the exordium of our epistle ; the Father even uses 
this reading for a dogmatical argument ; he finds in it that Paul 
calls the Ephcsians ovreg, an intimation that they through the 
knowledge of faith, were essentially united to Christ, the only truly 
existing. (Totf E^eatot? t-ruartvUuw w? yvrjaiug rjvufjievoH; TOJ OVTI dC 
Kmyvuaeus, ovrag avrovg Idca&vTug uv6[ia(jev.*) Through this accu- 

* In Jerome s Comm. on Ephes. i. 1, we also read : Paulus Ephesios essential vocab- 
ulo nuncupavit; but the Father himself finds fault with that interpretation; he remarks: 
alii simpliciter vertunt ; non ad eos qui sint, sed qui Ephesi sancti et fideles sint, scrip- 
turn arbitrantur. Bottger (Beit, part iii. p. 37) justly infers from the arbitranlur, that 
Jerome also did not find the reading h Efeau in the MSS., he only knew it as a conjecture. 
But I cannot accede to BGttger s view (that originally there was no name of a town 


rate communication Tertullian s reports as to the nature of the Mar- 
cionite text, as also the state of some of our MSS., certainly become 
very important. 

To these extrinsic arguments, which are calculated to excite 
doubts whether our epistle is addressed to the Ephesians, are added 
intrinsic ones also, by which these doubts are very much confirmed. 
We should expect from the relation of Paul to the Ephesian church, 
that some personal allusions to it and its members would be prom 
inent features in the epistle. But such are altogether wanting. 
True, a hearty cordiality pervades the epistle, but that is based 
merely on the common consciousness of faith, not on personal ac 
quaintance and friendship. The circumstance that Paul had com 
missioned Tychicus 3 the bearer of the epistle, to relate of him by 
word of mouth (vi. 21, 22), certainly in some measure explains a 
total want of greetings and personal intelligence ; but still it is 
hard to think, in the case of an epistle of Paul to a church in 
which he lived longer than two years, that he should have spoken 
of their faith as if he had only heard of it by report (i. 15), and 
that he leaves in doubt whether the readers had heard of the grace 
of God which had been given to him (iii. 2). Thus, even apart from 
extrinsic reasons, the contents of our epistle itself lead us to sup 
pose a wider circle of readers, whose circumstances were not known 
to the apostle in the same degree as those of the Ephesians must 
have been ; for, that Paul means to address only those converted after 
his departure from Ephesus, who were therefore as yet unknown to 
him, is a totally inadmissible assumption, as nowhere is such a dis 
tinction among the Christians at Ephesus hinted at. 

We might resolve this difficulty by assuming that our epistle 
is the one written to the Laodiceans, of which mention is made 
Col. iv. 16, as Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, and lately Holzhausen, 
have asserted. For Paul did not know the Laodiceans per 
sonally ; therefore the passages of our epistle, which surprise us 
as addressed to the Ephesians, would seem quite well adapted to 
the church in Laodicea. It was also obvious to seek in the similar 
assumption of the Marcionites a historical basis for this view, the 
rather that Marcion originated in Asia Minor, and therefore we 
might suppose his manuscripts to contain the purest text. But 
there are decisive reasons against this assumption. Had Paul writ 
ten at the same time to the Christians in Colossae and in Laodicea, 
he would not certainly have commissioned the Colossian Christians 
to make his greetings to the Laodiceans also (Col. iv. 15). Fur 
ther, Paul s wish, that the Laodiceans might read the Epistle 
to the Colossians, seems to have but little motive, on the assump- 

Btood in the greeting, and therefore ovai is to be taken in a pregnant sense), for the rea 
son developed in what follows. 


tion that the Epistle to the Ephesians is the one addressed to the 
Laodiceans, because this epistle is of similar purport, in general, with 
that to the Colossfans, and the Laodiceans could have no particular 
interest, after the more detailed epistle directed to them, in read 
ing the shorter one to the Colossians, which was calculated for par 
ticular circumstances. The epistle mentioned Col. iv. 16 must 
rather be considered as lost, since, as will be immediately shewn 
in detail, to the assumption of the Marcionites, that the Epistle 
to the Ephesians was intended for the Christians in Laodicea, no 
exclusive importance can be ascribed, since this circumstance ad 
mits of a simple explanation in another way, without supposing 
any corruption of the text. We can adopt, therefore, for the solu 
tion of the difficulty as to the destination of our epistle only this 
one assumption, viz., that the Epistle to the Ephesians was an en 
cyclical one, i. e., that it was meant to circulate among a number of 
churches, and to be read in their assemblies. For this supposition, 
which completely explains the character of the epistle, the greater 
number, and the most eminent, of the modern critics have accord 
ingly decided. However, it is still a question, even supposing the 
correctness of this general view, how the Ephesians were exactly 
situated with regard to this number of churches, for whom this 
epistle was intended, and how we are to establish the original 
reading in the salutation. The Epistle to the Ephesians can by 
no means be understood so encyclical as not -to include in the 
number of the churches, for which it was especially intended, the 
Ephesian church itself; on the contrary, it must be regarded as 
the first church in that number; as the one to which the epis 
tle was given first of all by Tychicus that they might forward it 
to the others (vi. 21, 22). This appears from the fact, that in all 
the Fathers without exception, even in Basil, our epistle is taken as 
an Epistle to the Ephesians. Marcion alone interprets it as an 
Epistle to the Laodiceans, as we saw ; but even in him it remained 
doubtful, whether he read Iv AaoSineia in the salutation, or, as is 
more probable, had no name of a city at all in the text, just like 
Basil s MSS. That this variation of Marcion s does not express 
the general view of the ancient church is irrefragably established by 
the fact, that, before Marcion, Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Ephe 
sians, mentions our epistle as one addressed to the Ephesian church. 
(Ignat. ad Eph. cap. xii. in the shorter recension of these epistles, 
which, according to the latest investigations, is to be considered as 
genuine.) This universal concord would be completely inexplicable, 
if the epistle had not been especially addressed to the church in 
Ephesus, much more if this was entirely excluded. On the other 
hand, it is quite comprehensible (unless we choose to suppose that 
it was merely Col. iv. 16 that was the cause of this supposition), that 


if our epistle was addressed, among others, to the Christians in 
Laodicea, it could be occasionally considered as an Epistle to the 
Laodiceans (from, which, however, the one mentioned Col. iv. 15 
must still be supposed different), of which view a vestige seems to 
have remained among the Marcionites. Tertullian s charge of a 
designed corruption of the text is in this point clearly without any 
prohahle ground. Thus, then, there only remains this further 
question, how the original text in Eph. i. 1, may have stood. Ac 
cording to the above-cited passage of Basil, the oldest MSS. known 
to him seem to have left out the iv E^Jaw, so that rolq ovat, nal mv- 
rolg were closely united ; for he deduces from this passage, as we 
already remarked, that he supposes the readers to have been thus 
called 6W^, becaise they stood in connexion with Christ, the only 
truly existing ( oW). But this interpretation, as similar ones 
attempted in later times by Schneckenburger, Matthies and Meyer 
(see Harless p. xivii.), cannot possibly be recommended. The an 
alogy of the exordia of Paul s epistles is in favour of the name 
of the city, or province, in which the readers of them are, directly 
following the participle. But then, how shall the omission of iv 
E0t <7oj be explained, which took place in many old MSS.; and, on 
the other hand, if w r e regard iv E0roj as the true reading, how could 
an encyclical epistle be designated as addressed to the Ephesians 
merely, especially as our epistle is addressed to Gentile Christians 
(ii. 11) whereas the Ephesian church was composed of Gentile and 
Jewish Christians (Acts xix. 17, xx. 21)? To the latter point, how 
ever, but little importance is to be ascribed, because all the churches 
founded by Paul were predominantly Gentile-Christian, and could 
not be otherwise from the mission which he undertook (Gal. ii. 9); 
even if there were individual Jews among them, still Paul might 
properly keep the mass especially in view, and remind them of their 
former idolatry. For it must be supposed in the case of all the epis 
tles, and therefore here also, that Paul wrote to whole churches, not to 
individuals of those churches, because he would by the latter course 
have himself dissolved their unity in faith and love. But there could 
scarcely have been any churches without some Jewish Christians. 
The two other arguments, however, the omission of the iv E$I-GM in 
some, and again the retention of the words in other MSS-, can 
surely be only explained, considering the encyclical destination of 
the epistle, by the assumption,* that either Tychicus was provided 
with several copies of the epistle, and that in them the space for the 
proper city was left blank for tilling up ; or that copies of the epis 
tle were made in Ephesus for different places, and, as it was known 
to be an encyclical epistle, the iv E0rw was put, not in all, but 

* The author of this hypothesis is Usher, tho famous Archbishop of Armagh, in his 
Annal. Mundi ad arm. Gi, p. 686. 


only in the copies intended for Ephesus and its neighbourhood ; while 
as Ephesus was the chief city of Asia, most copies naturally went 
out from it, which therefore spread that reading. The objection has 
been made (see Harlcss, p. xlv.) to this hypothesis (as to which it 
is immaterial whether it be received thus or modified), "that it 
transfers the usages of modern times to the ancient world/ incor 
rectly, as it appears to me. Copies must have been taken, as much 
in olden time as in the present day, of an epistle addressed to sev 
eral churches, whether by the bearer himself, or by those to whom 
the epistle came first ; and that in these copies the name of the 
place either was wanting at first, or was afterwards left out by the 
copyists, who knew the encyclical destination of the epistle, seems 
also to be entirely analogous to the state of things at all times. 
This supposition therefore of Usher, Hug, and others, has ever 
seemed to me the most suitable solution of the difficulty, which, if 
we reject it, we are obliged to leave unsolved. 


While our epistle maintained the character of an apostolical 
production, as well throughout the early church as in later ages, 
without any dispute, the critics of our days have attempted to cast 
doubts on the correctness of this tradition. Schleiermacher expressed 
himself doubtful as to the origin of our epistle, but his reasons have 
not as yet been published. Do Wette also (Introd. p. 221, seq.), is 
just as doubtful, but confesses that the reasons are as yet insufficient 
for rejecting it. Meanwhile we need not apprehend that plausible 
reasons will fail the sharp-sighted hyper-criticism of other theolo 
gians, in order to reject this epistle also, along with others, as not 
Paul s. Let us examine cursorily, since the publication of the rea 
sons for the non-genuineness of this epistle has not yet taken place, 
what may be considered as arousing suspicion. Historical arguments 
of the sort are entirely wanting, with the exception of the one 
which ( 1) was adduced as to its destination. But uncertainty as to 
the first readers of an epistle can only then excite suspicion as to the 
declared author, when corroborated by some other important points. 
Such the internal character of the epistle is said to suggest. De 
Wette (ubi supra, p. 220) expresses himself on these points in the 
following fashion : " In the Epistle to the Ephesians we are surprised 
by a style which when compared with that of others of Paul s epis 
tles, is quite too loose (this sounds as if looseness were, in general, a 

* According to Baur in his work against Eothe, Paul s Epistles to the Romans, Co- 
rinthians, and Galatians, are alone decidedly genuine ; all the others are spurious, or more 
or less suspicious. 


characteristic of Paul s mode of discussion), overladen with paren 
thetical and subordinate clauses, disjointed, rich in words, but poor 
in new ideas, and varying in particulars, as also by many things in 
its conceptions, opinions, and mode of teaching. Certainly, these 
reasons are not sufficient for rejecting the epistle, which contains so 
much which is worthy of Paul, and scarcely to be expected of an 
imitator, and, which antiquity has always acknowledged as gen 
uine." The arguments here cited as arousing suspicion, are, how 
ever, of such a description that veiy little, if any, stress is to be 
laid on them. As to the remarks, first of all, on the form of our 
epistle, it is true that airat; Aeydjueva occur in it ; but it has been 
long ago remarked that, considering the small extent of Paul s 
epistles all together, such must occur in each. Its style is also 
very rich and full ; but, when De Wette sees in it a mere " copia 
verborum, without new ideas," this is, as Harless (Introd. 3) has 
shewn in detail, an entirely unfounded charge ; the richness of 
style, the fulness of the sentences, is rather to be referred to the 
thronging ideas, which sought for simultaneous expression. As to 
the matter, in the second place, many variations in " conceptions, 
opinions, and doctrine" are said to occur in the Epistle to the 
Ephesians. But this assertion too amounts to nothing substan 
tial. Thus De Wette remarks among others, that the dajmon- 
ological conceptions in our epistle are singular, for which as 
sertion the words 6 ap%wv TIJS e^ovoiag rov dtpog, the prince of the 
power of the air (ii. 2), ra nvev^ariKa rrjg Trovrjpia^ EV rol<; Kfrovpavioig, 
spiritual ivickedness in heavenly places *(vi. 12) are quoted. But, 
since the doctrine of evil spirits occurs in all Paul s epistles, it cannot 
possibly be said with reason that there are here deviations from the 
genuine Pauline dsemonology, simply because a subordinate trait is 
here brought out, which we, accidentally, do not find elsewhere. 
Such are to be looked upon as mere ana}- voovpeva, and these have 
per se just as little power of demonstration as the ana!- keyopeva, 
unless they appear in conjunction with decisive arguments. - 1 The 
only thing that might be looked upon as such is the relation of our 
epistle to the Epistle to the Colossians ; this requires, therefore, a 
nearer investigation. 

That between the Epistle to the Ephesians and that to the Co 
lossians a great affinity exists was known long ago ; but the convic 
tion was that the composition of both epistles at the same time, and 

* Of what nature the other pretended variations are which De Wette says he lias re 
marked, is plain from the fact that ho reckons among them the exposition of Ps. Ixviii. 
19, the allegory of the church and marriage (iv. 8, 28, v. 18) ; passages which certainly, 
according to 1 Cor. x., Gal. iv., seem quite in Paul s style. But the exhortation in iv. 
. 28, v. 18, De "Wette finds gross (I) Whence this prudery comes I know not how to ex 

VOL. V. 2 


under like circumstances, was quite sufficient to account for it. But 
in later times it has been attempted to dispute that, "because the 
affinity is so great that at bottom the Epistle to the Ephesians 
" appears only a copious amplification of the Epistle to the Colos- 
sians, and is wanting in everything distinctive as to aim and object." 
(See De Wette, ubi supra, p. 223.) That is to say, the more definite 
character of the Epistle to the Colossians is taken to prove its origin 
ality at the expense of the Epistle to the Ephesians. (Ibid., p. 230, 
note a.) Now, as an argument for this alleged quality of the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, De Wette gives us (pp. 224-228) a com 
parison of the two epistles (in which all those passages even which 
contain like words only are set down as parallel passages), careless 
whether the connexion in which they occur is the same or a totally 
different one.* Earless (p. Ixix.) has already shewn in detail how 
very differently the comparison of the two epistles results, if we 
look to their connexion and tendency. With all the concord be 
tween them they still both exhibit an independent character. That 
is to say, whilst the Epistle to the Colossians has a perfectly defi 
nite polemical bearing, since an heretical party, characterized by 
peculiar features, is combatted in it, this is totally wanting in the 
Epistle to the Ephesians. True, some passages are found which 
at first sight appear to have a polemical tendency (see iv. 3, 4, 14, 
20, 21 ; v. 6) ; but, on a more accurate consideration, even in these 
all properly polemic allusion disappears, and the epistle stands, 
as a warning, it is true, against possible errors, but, on the whole, 
as merely a lively effusion of the heart, full of faith and joy, 
by which the readers are to be strengthened in the faith, en 
couraged to the practice of love, and stirred up to patience in 
hope. Schneckenburger s assumption that (Introd. p. 135, seq.) 
our epistle relates to the theosophic system, which had spread in 
Asia Minor, is, at all events, completely inadmissible. Why should 
that polemical reference be so veiled here, when it is so openly 
expressed in the Epistle to the Colossians ? The only thing in 
the Epistle to the Ephesians which must be considered as having 
a special regard to the circumstances of the first readers is the 
manner in which Paul speaks of his knowledge of Christianity 
(iii. 4), and especially of the position of the Gentiles towards the 
Jews with reference to the gospel (see. ii. 2, seq., ii. 11-22, iii. 6, 
seq.), in to which our epistle seems to have a greater affinity to 
those written to the Galatians and Romans than to that written 
to the Colossians. If we compare with those copious and impres 
sive representations as to the right of the Gentiles to an imme 
diate entrance into the kingdom of God the exhortations to con- 

* The separate parallels will, in every case, meet with a closer examination in the 
exposition, and so we do not go into them more closely here. 


cord which (iv. 1, seq.) arc annexed to them, it surely cannot be de 
nied that Paul must have entertained the apprehension that Jewish 
Christians might at some future time distract the minds of the con 
verts in the neighbourhood of Ephcsus, just as had already happened 
in the neighbouring Galatia. That is to say, there is no certain trace 
in the Epistle to the Ephesians (see the Comm. on Eph. iv. 14) that 
false teachers of this bias had already gained influence ; Paul s in 
tention seems to have been merely to counteract betimes their pos 
sible and probable future influence. But the matter has quite an 
other aspect in Colossas, where the apostle s arguments combat with 
all their force a false doctrine which had already obtained circula 
tion. When Mayerhoff (on Col. p. 143, seq.) finds also a contro 
versy in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he confounds & positive state 
ment of truth with an antagonistic. True, every proposition con 
tains a reference to its opposite, but, if that opposite is nowhere 
openly prominent, a polemical tendency is out of the question. 
Had Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians combatted an actually 
existing error, he would have been obliged not merely to set forth 
the truth in addresses to the Gentile Christians, but also to describe 
their errors with a clear reference to the mistaken Jewish Christians ; 
but of that not a trace is found^ Even supposing, therefore, that, 
in passages like Eph. i., 20-23, just as in Col. i. 15, seq., there floated 
before his mind a reply to false teachers, who, like those of Colossas, 
denied the Divine dignity of Christ and put angel-princes on a level 
with him, we should not be justified in supposing such a reply to exist 
in the Epistle to the Ephesians, except with a view to the possi 
bility that such false teachers might come from the neighbouring 
ColossaB to Ephesus also, it would by no means follow that such views 
had already been disseminated there when Paul wrote to Ephesus. 
Paul s melancholy prophecies as to the false teachers to be expected 
in Ephesus (Acts xx. 29, seq.) were not realized until the time of the 
composition of the Epistles to Timothy and of the first Epistle of 
John, But, besides this, the remaining entirely general contents of 
our epistle are communicated so completely in Paul s language and 
manner, that, were the epistle not genuine, the author must be 
supposed not merely to have formed his style on Paul s, but to 
have copied Paul exactly word for word. But, had any one under 
taken anything of the sort, he would, in all probability, have intro 
duced above all into the epistle open polemical tendencies, and not 
have obliterated those which are manifest in the epistle to the 
Colossians ; since the attempts at forgery were usually required to 
serve the purpose of adding apostolical authority to the personal 
bias that was to be rendered current. What we are to think of 
such hypotheses, derived from intrinsic reasons, and set up without 
any support from extrinsic arguments, is especially shewn in this 


case by the fact that Mayerhoff asserts the originality of the Epis 
tle to the Ephesians and spuriousness of that to the Colossians 
with the same confidence and decision with which De Wette con 
versely maintains the originality of the Epistle to the Colossians, 
and the derivation therefrom of that to the Ephesians. (See Mayer- 
hotFs work, " The Epistle to the Colossians examined, with especial 
regard to the three pastoral epistles," Berlin 1838, p. 105, seq.) 
And, in fact, if this assertion of Mayerhoff s was not just as arbi 
trary, in the absence of all other decisive reasons, it would have, at 
least, this advantage over the totally untenable and in itself empty 
one of De Wette s, that there would be a reasonable foundation for 
the fiction, viz., the insertion of the polemical element in the epistle, 
whereas, according to De Wette s view, that element must have 
been even purposely left out, by which omission the work seems 
wholly aimless. Accordingly, we are justified in saying, that nothing 
at all can be discovered in our epistle which affords reasonable ground 
for a suspicion of its genuineness. 


This enquiry cannot be carried on with reference to the Epistle 
to the Ephesians alone, as Paul s Epistles to the Colossians and to 
Philemon, which are closely connected with each other, must neces 
sarily be referred to the same time as our epistle, on account of the 
near affinity of the former of them with our epistle, and of the very 
similar circumstances under which they were composed. Nay, the 
very same thing holds good of the Epistle to the Philippians also, 
as Bottger (Beitr. part 2d, p. 60) has already correctly remarked : 
" It will ever be a fruitless labour to attempt to separate the Epistle 
to the Philippians by any considerable space of time from those to 
the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon," which Schulz, Schott, 
De Wette, and Schneckenburger have attempted, more or less de 
cidedly, to do. (See the passages in point in Bottger, ubi sup.) 
Thus two questions arise for us to solve, first, when these four 
epistles were composed, i. e. } during what imprisonment, whether 
during the one at Eome, or that at Caasarea (for these two alone can, 
with any appearance of truth, be named as the dates of their compo 
sition) ; and secondly, in what order they stand with regard to each 
other ? 

In relation to the first question, there had been a unanimous 
decision in favour of the imprisonment at Eome, which Luke reports 
at the end of Acts, until Sclmlz (Stud, for 1829, part 3d p. 612, 
seq.), Schott (Isag. in N. T. p. 272, seq.), De Wette (Introd. p. 
254), Schneckenburger (Beitr. p. 143, seq.), and especially Bottger 


(Beitr. part 2), recommended with, great acumen the other view- 
viz., that of their composition in Caesarea. For that these epis 
tles were all written during one imprisonment is clear from their 
open declarations (Eph. iii. 1, 13, iv. 1, vi. 19, seq. ; Phil. i. 7, 
12, 14, seq., ii. 17, seq. ; Col. i. 24, iv. 3, 7 ; Philem. ver. 9). But 
we know of only the two chief imprisonments of Paul in Home and 
Ceesarea ; to one of these, therefore, the composition of the four 
epistles must be referred. For the circumstance, that we find the 
same persons mentioned as companions of Paul in all four of them, 
which cannot possibly be supposed of both imprisonments, does not 
permit a partition of the epistles between the two. These persons are 
Timothy (Phil. i. 1 ; Col. i. 1 ; Philem. ver. 1), Epaphras (Col. i. 7, 
iv. 12 ; Philem. ver. 23), Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus Justus, Demas, 
Lucas (Col. iv. 10, 11, 14 ; Philem, ver. 24), Tychicus (Eph. vi. .21, 
seq. ; t3ol. iv. 7), Onesirnus (Col. iv. 9 ; Philem. ver. 10). The only 
thing which strikes us here is, that in the Epistle to the Ephesians 
no mention is made of Timothy. The supposition that he is not 
named because he was a stranger to the readers (see Harless, p 
Ixi.), seems to me improbable, because Timothy, according to Acts 
xx. 4, was with Paul in Asia, and on this visit no doubt also visited 
the churches to which our epistle is addressed. But if we consider 
that the Epistle to the Ephesians contains, on the whole, but few 
personal references, and, besides, that Paul often sent off one or the 
other of his companions on this or that business, it may be supposed 
that the composition of the Epistle to the Ephesians happened 
during precisely such an absence of Timothy. In no case can the 
non-mention of Timothy in Ephesians become an argument which 
would justify us in referring this epistle to another time than the 
three others, as all arguments e silentio are of so precarious a 

But now, whether we shall decide for the imprisonment at Kome, 
as the date of the composition of these four Epistles of Paul, or for 
that at CaBsarea, of which mention is made Acts xxiii. 23-26, 32, is 
certainly a difficult question, especially after Bottger (ubi sup. p. 
48, seq.) has tried to prove that the olaia Kaioapog and the npair&giov 
(Phil. i. 13, iv. 22), from which it was formerly thought that the 
composition of the epistles could be safely referred to Borne, can 
also be understood of the Palace of Herod in Cassarea (Acts xxiii. 
35), in which Paul was a prisoner, and of the domestics in it.* To 
me, indeed, this view seems improbable, as Paul would scarcely 
have called this palace of the Icing Herod olida Kaiaapo$ ; but 
we pass over this argument, since we cannot make out for cer 
tain which building Paul means in the Epistle to the Philippians, 
because there were imperial palaces in many places. Among all 

* See the details in the Comra. on the passages Phil. L 13, iv. 22. 


which is adduced Ly Bottger for Csesarea on the one side, and 
on the other side by Graul* for Home, we find so little that is 
really decisive, that it is difficult to declare with entire confidence 
for the one or the other view. Bottger s chief reason against 
Rome is, that Paul was there but a few days in imprisonment. But 
this rests on an erroneous interpretation of the conclusion of the 
Acts, on which see the Comm. The epistles contain, collectively, 
no historical points sufficiently definite to justify us in drawing 
from them any conclusions as to the time and place of their compo 
sition. What may be gathered from any notices of frames of mind, 
and similar uncertain, because purely subjective, circumstances, can 
of course make no claim at all to the force of demonstration. I 
find but this one decisive circumstance in favour of the imprison 
ment at Rome, viz., that Paul writes, Eph. vi. 19, 20, that he had, 
though a prisoner, still the opportunity of proclaiming the gospel. 
This is imaginable from the nature of his imprisonment in Home 
(see on Acts xxviii. 16, 30), but not in the case of that in Ccesarea, 
where he was formally shut up in prison. 

According to Acts xxvii. 2, Aristarchus, as well as Lucas, was 
also with Paul in Rome ; we find both again Col. iv. 10, Philern. 
ver. 24, \he reas it is not known to us that they were his compan 
ions in Caesarea. For these reasons, therefore, in conjunction with 
the circumstance that the phrase olnta Kaiaapog directs our thoughts 
primarily, at least, to the imperial palace at Rome, I decide, with 
the majority of the later critics and commentators, for the composi 
tion of the Epistles to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, to the 
Colossians, and to Philemon, in that first imprisonment of Paul at 
Rome, with the mention of which Luke closes the Acts. 

But now in what order were the four epistles themselves com 
posed ? The mild captivity in which Paul was held in Rome (Acts 
xxviii. 30), lasted at least two years ; which epistles did he write 
first in this space of time, and which last? In the first place, as re 
gards the Epistle to Philemon, which Onesimus conveyed, it is to 
be supposed from Col. iv. 7-9, that it was written and sent off at the 
same time with the Epistle to the Colossians, which Tychicus 
brought. For both Tychicus and Onesimus, according to the pas 
sage cited, begin their journey from Rome to Colossaa together, and 
at the same time. But Harless (p. lix.) has decided the question, 
whether the Epistle to the Ephesians was composed before or 
after these two, by the correct interpretation of Eph. vi. 21, com 
pared with Col. iv. 7. That is to say, in the former passage the 
words : Iva 61 ddj/re not v^lq ra KCLT* tjue are explained only by as 
suming a reference to the similar declaration, Co], iv. 7 ; accord- 

* Graul Disaertatio do Scliukii et Scliottii sententia cet. Lips. 1836-8. 


ing to that, the Epistle to the Ephesians was written after those to 
the Colossians and Philemon. The space of time, however, between 
the composition of those two and that of the Epistle to the Ephe 
sians, can scarcely have amounted to more than a few days or weeks 
at most, as Tychicus brought the Epistle to the Ephesians as well 
as that to the Colossians. For the repetition of so long a journey 
as that from Eome to Asia Minor, was, in the first place, in itself 
improbable ; and, secondly, the near affinity of the epistles to each 
other requires the composition of them to be placed at the same 
time. The only remaining question therefore is, how the Epistle 
to the Philippians stands related in the date of its composition, 
to the other three, which, alike with regard to the places of their 
destination and the time of their composition, fall very nearly to 
gether. There are no open and clear declarations in the Epistle to 
the Philippians to enable us to answer this question satisfactorily; 
we shall be obliged to confine ourselves to mere probability. How 
ever, from Phil. i. 12, seq., ii. 26, seq., this epistle seems to belong 
to the latter part of Paul s imprisonment at Kome, whereas the 
three other epistles might belong to its earlier period. For the 
passages cited presuppose that Paul had passed a long time in 
Rome, and could already remark the effects of his preaching. (See 
De Wette s Introd., p. 232.) Further, the announcement, Phil. ii. 
24, that he will come to them rax^g, quickly, seems to intimate a 
prospect of his imprisonment soon coming to an end, while Philem. 
ver. 22 certainly expresses only a more distant hope of such an 


The Epistle to the Ephesians rejects all specialities, which lies 
in the very nature of an encyclical epistle. It treats only of general 
Christian ideas and relations in a dogmatical and ethical point of 
view. Accordingly, this epistle may be divided into two parts ; in 
the former (i. 1 iii. 21) the dogmatical element prevails ; in the 
latter (iv. 1 vi. 24) the ethical. The former part contains three 
sections, the first of which (i. 1-14), after the salutation, contains a 
thanksgiving to God for the work of redemption wrought in Christ, 
and the eternal election of man for salvation in him ; the second (i. 
15 ii. 10) contains Paul s special thanks for the faith of the readers, 
and the prayer that God would, by his Holy Spirit, advance them in 
this their state, and make them, who were, dead in sin, alive with 
Christ, that they may, as created anew in Christ Jesus, bring forth 
fruit in good works. Finally, the third section (ii. 11 iii. 21) con 
trasts the former state of the readers (before their conversion) in 


heathenism with the succeeding one in regeneration, and makes it 
especially prominent that the separation between Jews and Gen 
tiles was through Christ abolished, and a unity of mankind estab 
lished. This unity Paul compares to a temple of God, into which 
all believers are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. 
Now Paul sets himself forth as Mm to whom the grace had been 
granted of accomplishing, through his ministry, this call of the Gen 
tile world to be the people of God ; he therefore beseeches his read 
ers on their part, not to become weary in the conflict which faith in 
Christ has for its indispensable consequence in this sinful world, and 
to think of the glory which is prepared in Christ for those who over 

In the second part (iv. 1 vi. 24) we distinguish four sections. 
The ethical exhortations in the fourth section (iv. 1-16) open with 
calling upon the readers to preserve the unity of the faith with hu 
mility, to avoid all divisions, and to that end to recognize the dis 
tinctions which were established by God in the church, which is 
compared with the human body. In the fifth section there is an 
nexed to the above the exhortation to walk no longer after the 
manner of the Gentiles, but to be renewed in spirit, and to put on 
the new man ; which is afterwards applied to the several moral re 
lations, in so far as they have reference to men generally (iv. 17 v. 
20). The sixth section makes a transition to the special relations of 
life, and treats, first of all, in dqtail, the matrimonial relations, which 
are so important ; in connexion with which the relation of Christ to 
the church, as a type of matrimony, is set forth. There is further 
annexed to the above, a discussion of the relation between parents 
and children ; and finally, of that between masters and servants (v. 
21 vi. 9). In the seventh and last section, the discussion again re 
turns from the special to the general ; Paul describes the faithful 
as soldiers called upon to fight for truth and righteousness on account 
of the opposing kingdom of darkness, and depicts the armour which 
they must use. For all the details respecting himself, Paul refers 
his readers to the bearer of the epistle, Tychicus, and concludes with 
the usual benediction (vi. 10-24). 


The Epistle to the Ephesians has been specially commented on 
by Schiitz (Lips. 1778. 8.); by Cramer (translation, with Introd. and 
notes, Kiel, 1782. 4.) ; by Mliller (Heidelberg, 1793. 8.) ; by Flatt 
(published by Kling, Tubingen, 1828). The last few years have 
produced no less than five new commentaries on our epistle, four of 
which appeared in the year 1834, viz., the Commentaries of Holz- 


hausen (Hanover, 1833) ; of Meyer (Berlin, 1834) ; of Matlhies 
(Greifswald, 1834); of Kiickert (Lips., 1834) ; and of Harless (Er- 
langen, 1834). The last named excellent work of my respected 
colleague has rendered the other modern works on our epistle almost 
superfluous. (See the general criticism of all the modern comment 
aries on the Epistle to the Ephesians in Tholuck s Anzeiger for 1838, 
Nos. 34, seq.) 






I. 1. III. 21. 

(i. 1-14.) 

AFTER what has been already remarked in the Introduction to 
this epistle ( 1) on rolg dytoig rolg ovmv &v E</><70>, the salutation 
(vers. 1 3 2) contains nothing which has not been already sufficiently 
discussed in the prefaces to the earlier epistles. The name of Timothy, 
which is found in the prefaces to the contemporaneous Epistles to the 
Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Philippians, is wanting in this ; 
therefore we do not know to whom Paul dictated it. The epistle 
itself begins (ver. 3) with a thanksgiving to God for the blessings in 
Christ. Though Paul is, of course, also grateful to God for all ma 
terial, bodily blessings in earthly things, still he had no.occasion here 
to put forward that side of the picture ; he simply thanks God here 
for spiritual blessings in heavenly things. (On the phrase 6 Qebg KCU 
rrary/p rov Kvpiov rjfitiv Irjaov Xpiarov, see on Matth. xxii. 31, 32 ; 2 Cor. 
i. 4. If the meaning were only, " Praised be God, who is the Father 
of Jesus Christ," the words would run, evhoyrjrbg Qebg 6 -narrjp K. r. A. 
But in this connexion the genitive also must be referred to 6 Qeo$. 
Besides this phrase, which occurs in this passage (and which is also 
found in Paul at Horn. xv. 5 ; 2 Cor. i. 3, xi. 31 ; Col. i. 3), the 
apostle use s still the following ones : 6 Qsbg K.CU -rrarijp (1 Cor. xv. 24), 
6 Qebg rov Kvpiov r jfitiv Irjaov Xpiorov (Eph. i. 17), 6 ~arrjp rov Kvpiov 
rjfitiv Irjaov Xpiarov (Eph. iii. 14), 6 Qebg not -nan ip (Eph. v. 20), and 
Sebg rrariip (Gal. i. 1, 4 ; Eph. vi. 23 ; Phil. i. 3 ; 1 Thess. i. 1 ; 2 
Tim. i. 2 ; Tit, i. 14), in which the reference of the conceptions of 
" God" and of " the Father" to the Son is alwavs to be maintained. 

28 EPHESIANS I. 1-4. 

Had Paul wished to make both conceptions, " The God of Je 
sus Christ," and "the Father of Jesus Christ," prominent and 
strictly separate, the article would certainly have been necessarily 
repeated before -na-r\p (see Winer s G-r., 19, 5) ; but there was no 
reason for so rigorous a separation, and therefore, since further 
Oe6f and Trarj/p are of the same gender, the article might prop 
erly be left out without weakening the reference of the genitive rov 
Kvpiov Tjjuwv ITJOOV XpiGTov to the first substantive. The two mean 
ings of evkoyelv in the language of the New Testament, viz., " to 
praise," and " to bless," appear here side by side. The Hebrew Si"? 
combines both meanings in the same way. The evhoyia TTVEV- 
HariKri, spiritual blessing, here denotes the effects of God s grace 
through the Holy Spirit, obtained by means of Christ s work, in every 
form of his agency alike in his moral workings, and in the extra 
ordinary gifts bestowed on the church. The sv rolg inovpavioiq 
is difficult, for the concluding words, iv Xptcrrw, are not connected 
with this, but with the evkoyrjcrag tffjag, representing Christ as the 
element in which the blessed exist, and through whose mission 
and work they have received the blessing. Ta tnovpavia can be un 
derstood of heavenly gifts only, or of the heavenly locality. In the 
former case it would stand parallel with evXoyia TrvsvuariKT]. and then 
the article surprises us ; Paul would have written iv enovpavioiq 
merely. Besides, rd e-ovpdvia always means in Paul absolutely 
heaven, the heavenly world ;" see Eph. i. 20, ii. 6, iii. 10, vi. 12. 
We shall, therefore, be obliged to keep to this meaning here also, 
and in the following sense : the spiritual blessing which is in heaven, 
and therefore bears a heavenly nature. But this certainly may be 
reduced in meaning to the conception, " heavenly gifts.") 

Ver. 4. This Divine agency, so full of blessing, is then more ac 
curately characterized by the declaration that God hath chosen be 
lievers before the foundation of the world with the view that they 
may be holy and blameless before his eyes. This t-K/loy?) npb aa-a- 
J3o^7ig icoa/iov, election before the foundation of the world (see on 
Matth. xxv. 34), cannot be used to establish the pre-existence of 
souls, as Origen, in early times, and Beriecke recently, have supposed. 
The phrase upd Ka-af3oArjg Koanov (see at Matth. xiii. 35 ; Luke xi. 
50 ; John xvii. 14) denotes, in fact, eternity in a metaphysical 
sense, not time before the creation of the world, which seems the 
primary meaning of the words, but timelessness (i. e., non-subjec 
tion to the conditions of time). It is equivalent to dnb TWV aluvw, 
to TrpoOeoic rtiv aluvw (Eph. iii. 9, 11), or to an dp%-7]g (2 Thess. ii. 
13). But tfeAefaro ^jua?, chose us, by no means expresses the real 
individual existence of believers before the creation, in the Divine 
mind, but merely the timeless act of volition on the part of God who 
beholds the future as present. On the other hand, it is undeni- 


able that in ettteyeiv is couched a reference to others not chosen 
and that therefore the discourse is of a prcedcstinatio sanctorum, 
but without asserting, at the same time with that, a reprobatio im- 
piorum, or a gratia irresistibilis. (See remarks on Rom. ix. 1.) 
The addition lv av~&, i. e., Xpiar&, defines KK^oy-rj more accurately. 
God sees in his election by grace, man in Christ, so that, as Adam 
was the representative of natural humanity, so Christ is the repre 
sentative of spiritual humanity. (KaOug unites ver. 4 as an ex 
planation to ver. 3, " praised be God, who hath blessed us, as he 
indeed hath chosen us, i. e., since he has chosen us." See 1 Cor. 
i. 6.) The object of the election is, however, that men should be 
holy and unspotted. (In Col. i. 22 dv^yK^rog also stands along with 
both expressions.) It is self-evident, finally, from what follows, 
that this is no self- elaborated holiness and blamelessness, attained 
by our own righteousness, but Christ s holiness, which is imputed to 
faith, but manifests itself likewise in the believer, though only as the 
result of the experience of grace, as an actual state. 

Yer. 5. The connecting of iv dyd-ny with t-feAe^aro is too decid 
edly opposed by its position. But it seems uncertain whether t-v 
dydiry should be joined with what precedes or what follows. The 
thought, " to be holy and unspotted in love," is not intrinsically in 
congruous, since love, as the ultimate root of the disposition, deter 
mines holiness itself. Nor can anything be objected to the conjunc 
tion djj,o)[j,og KV dyd~-q, blameless in love, for designating pure love ; 
at 2 Pet. iii. 14 we read damkot icdi dfj.^r]-ot KV elprjvy, Judc ver. 24, 
analog KV dyakXidaei. But, first, critical authorities favour decidedly 
the connexion witji what follows, as well as the fact that Paul 
generally uses dyioi nal d^ufioi without any addition. (See Eph. v. 
27 ; Col. i. 22.) Ev dyd-q irpoopioag r)p>ag, therefore, connects itself 
with efeAtfaro as a stricter definition ; God s election manifested 
itself in the gracious predestination to adoption, i. e., God pre 
destined us for children of God. (On npoopi&iv, also, which appears 
in ver. 11, joined to Kurd Trpodeaiv, and on vloOeaia, as on etc^oyrj, 
what was needful has been already observed at Rom. viii. 15, 
ix. 1.) Since the possibility of sonship is effected entirely through 
Christ s atonement, the addition did Irjoov Xptcrov explains itself; 
but elg avrov is difficult, though we should, with Lachmann and 
Harless, prefer it to the avrov of Griesbach, as the latter perhaps 
arose merely from the wish to mark more definitely the reference to 
the Father. No other reason, doubtless, can be assumed for this 
added dg avrov, than the design of Paul to designate Christ as him 
who leads men to God, through whom we come to the Father, 
according to the words in John, " No one cometh to the Father but 
through me ;" so that we might paraphrase the sentence thus : " God 
has in love predestinated us unto adoption, that we might through 


Jesus come to him, and be led back to bim out of our lost state, in 
accordance with his gracious will." The annexed Kara TT/J evdoKiav 
rov 6e^ijp,arog avrov might seem to argue against the connexion of 
kv dyaTrq with npoopioag. For, as evSoicia involves the conception of 
love and benevolence, not that of mere decree (see Harless on this 
passage), evdoKia rov OeAijuarog seems exactly dyd-xi]. But, whilst 
dyd-rj designates the proper essence of God, as love, e^donia rov 
Oekijuarog renders prominent the benevolence of the individual act of 
the will in the election and predestination of believers, so that there 
is no tautology. 

Ver. 6. As the object of this benevolent Divine will, the praise 
of God s grace, to which man was meant to be thereby incited, and 
with which Paul had set out in ver. 3, is then brought forward. We 
need not explain the added 66%a ri]<;xdptro<;, which serves to strengthen 
the expression, by supposing it = %dpig Kvdogog, or by referring it to 
a Hebraism. (See the pertinent remarks on this passage in Har 
less.) In what immediately follows (vers. 12, 14), we read again dg 
rr}g dofyc avrov without %dpcrog. (See on the import of 
i. e., the unmerited expression of God s love towards his crea 
tures, the remarks on Rom. iii. 21. Xdpig is never used of Christ and 
the Holy Ghost. So far the structure of Paul s sentences proceeds 
regularly ; but from tV % exapiruaev, as far as ver. 14, the discourse 
proceeds entirely by means of relatives, which link themselves to the 
substantive which stands last, and thus form, as it were, a coronet of 
isolated clauses, without any regular period. Similar passages are 
found Col. i. 9-20 ; 1 Pet. i. 3-12 ; and in our epistle at i. 20, seq., 
which directly follows, a similar circle of propositions occurs, which 
are all united by nai. But the separate propositions themselves thus 
connected with each other by relatives, all issue naturally from one 
another by the law of association. This structure of his discourse thus 
only shews Paul s fulness of ideas, which thronged forward, without 
allowing him time to range the isolated propositions into periods. 
This unperiodic style, arising from exuberance of ideas, extends into 
the fourth chapter of our epistle : it shews itself, however, here most 
strikingly. As to the words iv % tyapiraaev ^a^, the reading fy has, it 
is true, important vouchers, especially A. and G., and accordingly 
Lachmann has received it into the text. But the preponderating 
number of the manuscripts for lv y. and the facility of the altera* 
tion, on account of the preceding x,dpi~og, render the latter reading 
preferable. The grace of God is described in the words : kv y t-,v a P- 
iruaev f^ag as the means by which he has made man acceptable to 
himself ; and, indeed, as it was said in verse 4 iv avrti, so here 
it is ev TO} TyyaTT^uevo), by which, as the gloss vl& avrov in D.E.F. 
G. correctly explains, Christ is designated, in that he, the arche 
type of holiness, is /car ^o%r]v the object of God s love, and through 


himself first makes everything worthy of God s love. Ver. 7 clearly 
shews that %aprrow relates to the work of Christ, -in whom God 
views the elect. The use of the aorist t^apn-wae is ? therefore not to 
be explained by the assumption that Paul means to say, " God had 
already made him (Paul himself), with his believing contemporaries, 
acceptable to himself, because they were inwardly reconciled, and 
had appropriated grace ;" this proposition, on the contrary, holds 
good also of all future generations ; Paul utters the %eZ$- in the 
name of all believers forever. As in ver. 4 tfeAefaro denotes the 
eternal decree of redemption, so here txapiruoe denotes the objective 
fact of the same, which holds good, not merely for those then living, 
but for all mankind. God has in Christ, once for all, had mercy on 
mankind, received them into favour, and made them acceptable to 
himself. But tV must not be confounded with 6td ; Christ is rather, as 
already remarked at ver. 4, to be understood as the real representative 
of humanity, in whom all exist after the new man, Christ in us, as 
they exist in Adam after the old man. (The form %apt-6u is 
found in the New Testament but once more, Luke i. 28 ; else 
where it occurs also Sir. ix. 8, xviii. 17, and in Symmachus, Ps. 
xviii. 26. In profane Greek it is found only in very late writers, as 

Ver. 7. Now, as regards Christ, Paul brings redemption through 
his blood into prominence, and designates it more closely as dfoaic 
rtiv Trapa/TTWjttarwi , remission of trespasses. In the words &v a> ^o/zev, 
in ivliom ive have, Christ is conceived as the living fountain of re 
demption ; that is to say, although it was actually effected by his 
death, still it, in his intercession (see at Rom. viii. 34), works on in 
cessantly as a living power. His work is inseparable from his per 
son ; we have not redemption in his work without his person, but in 
his person, with which his work forms a living unity. The import 
of aTTokvTp&ffig and the phrase 6ia rov ai^arog avrov, have already 
been treated at length Rom. iii. 25. The epexegetic rip dfoaiv -rtiv 
TTapaTTTUjM-Mv only requires a remark here. The phrase, which is 
often found in the Gospels and the Acts, occurs in Paul here only, and 
in Col. i. 14 the synonymous afoot? ~<2v d[j,ap-itiv. In Rom. iii. 25 
-ndpeai? duapT?]p.druv means something quite different ; see at that pas 
sage. In the Epistle to the Hebrews ix. 22, x. 18, afoot? is found 
alone. The phrase denotes, in its literal sense, forgiveness of sins, 
i. e., of their guilt, therefore the effect of the atonement (KaraA- 
Aay//) for man. Too much stress is not to be laid on the form napan- 
Tufiara, d/iap^iat, trespasses, sins, for not merely sinful deeds, but 
also sinful conditions, innate sinfulness, are considered as pardoned. 
Td TTapanrcjfia-a denotes absolutely everything sinful, in whatever 
form it may present itself. Since, now, redemption (dnoMrfXtots) 
and reconciliation (/caraAAay?/), are only designations of the same 


idea, taken from different points of view (see at Kom. iii. 25), and 
T&V TTapaTf-TUfj,dra)i> explains more nearly and defines the drro/U;- 
g, it follows that the phrase designates especially the nega 
tive side of Christ s work, which regards sinful roan as pardoned by 
God for the sake of Christ s merits. But the appropriation of this 
forgiveness of sins cannot be regarded as a fact, without the trans 
formation of man proceeding from it as its consequence. 

Ver. 8. In the forgiveness of sins established through Christ 
Paul sees again the riches of grace, which he has caused to abound 
towards man. But it is a question here, whether KV -ndarj oofyia KOL 
(ppovfasi is to be joined to cnepiaaevaev, or to yvupiaag. We must 
be guided in our decision on that point by the fact, that neither 
xaoa aotyia,* nor faovrjaig, nor </>pdw/zo?, fipovifiuc;, can fitly be said of 
God. The joining it with yvuptaag is, therefore, inadmissible, be 
cause, according to it, both words must necessarily be referred to 
God. True, Grotius, Baumgarten, and others, have chosen to refer 
the KV ndarj ao<pia nal (frpovrjoti to God, even when joining it with TTS- 
piaaevoe but, besides the above-cited general reason, a compari 
son with Col. i. 9, where KV ndoy ootpia KCU OVVKOEI nvevnariKy must 
be referred to man, should have withheld them from that interpre 
tation. Therefore, the clause in ver. 8 is to be paraphrased thus : 
fy eneyiaoevoev elg J]{J,dg, Iva iv Trdoq aocftia aal typovijaei -nepmaT&UKv. But 
the definition of the words <ro0ia, typovrjaig, and the kindred ovveaig 
(Col. i. 9), which we will here consider at the same time with them, 
is not without difficulty. 2o0m, related most closely to yv&mg, seems 
in the language of the New Testament to be the result of the rightly 
applied vovg, i. e., of the faculty by which we perceive that which is 
eternal, f But, whilst yv&oi? refers only to knowledge, there is con 
stantly couched in ooQia a reference to the practical application of 
knowledge, as in the Hebrew fitash, whilst yv&mg answers to risia. 
On the other hand, (f>povrjoi,g and ovveoig are expressions of the rightly 
applied ^pereg-, i. e., of the understanding. They answer to our 
" prudence and understanding." Both words have also a practical 
reference, like aoQia, but with the difference, that in the latter 
the practical aim is directed more to great and comprehensive 

* Harless remarks very justly that one may say indeed, " God has wisdom," or " in 
him is all wisdom," but not, " he does anything in all wisdom," because God possesses all 
attributes absolutely. But the phrase ".all wisdom" is here relative, as it must be thus 
paraphrased : " All the wisdom which, under existing circumstances, is imaginable, which 
one can suppose in men." 

f We have spoken already on 1 Cor. xii. 8 of aoipia and yvtiaif, but as of charismata, 
which cannot be meant here (see on ver. 17), not as of natural faculties, which can be 
cultivated even without the influences of the Holy Ghost, or awakened through them. 
But certainly the Divine Spirit ever attaches himself to the human spirit, whence the like 
names for the certainly related, but yet different, gifts. There cannot be, from the na 
ture of the thing, a %dpia/j.a of ^povr/aif, or of avveaif, because these are faculties of the 


relations, ^p6vr]0ig and cvveotg, on the contrary, relate to special 
and individual cases. As wisdom takes earthly relations in their 
totality, and thus estimates them in their reference to the eter 
nal, there can be no false application of wisdom ; false wisdom is 
only seeming wisdom ; wisdom is always rightly applied. Prudence, 
on the contrary, can, just because it has to do with individual 
cases, be, it is true, entirely what it is, viz., a sagacious use of pre 
sent circumstances, and yet be applied to ungodly ends. There 
fore Paul, at Col. i. 9, pertinently adds : iv OVVKOEL -xvevpaTiKq, 
in order to distinguish real prudence, which is applied to spirit 
ual ends, from the worldly prudence (^povriaii; oaoKun] or rov KOO^IOV), 
of which the Scriptures say that the children of the world distin 
guish themselves by it more than the children of light. (Luke xvi. 
8, ol viol rov ai&vcx; rovrov (frpovip&repoi vrtKO rovg vlovg rov 0wr6f elot.) 
But ovveatg and typovijoig seem distinguished only as avveaig denotes 
rather the power of the understanding, ([ioovrjaig the application of 
that power. It may be said, God has implanted the vovg in the 
spirit, and ovvemg in the soul, but not (j>p6vr)ai$ (as neither did he 
implant yv&ai$ and oofaa in the vovg), because the latter depends 
on the faithful application of the power of the ovveoig. But from 
this relation between them it is comprehensible that they can be 
used quite synonymously, just as our words, understanding and pru 
dence. (Compare on this point my essay de naturae humane Tri- 
chotomia in my Opusc. Theol. p. 158, seq. I still perfectly approve of 
the definition given there, yv&aig KV r& vot, marts tv ry napdia, only I 
would modify the proposition : ao^ia KV raig typeaiv, to the extent of 
saying that the cofyia also belongs to the department of the vov$ } as 
complement of the yvtiaig.) 

Ver. 9. The rich manifestation of Divine grace is further more 
accurately defined by the yvupiaag i rb fj,vorrjpiov rov Oe^TJ^aro^, 
K. r. A., making known to us the mystery of his will, etc. By 
this connexion with tTrepioaevoev it will be clear enough that yvu- 
QI&IV is not to be understood of a mere external making known, 
but of such a making known, by which he, to whom anything is re 
vealed, receives at the same time the essence of the thing, here of the 
mystery of the Divine will. For that the f^vorijoiov rov OeMmaros, 
mystery of Ms will, is here Christ s incarnation, and the work of re 
demption which depended on it, is clearly shewn by what follows. 
This was known as about to happen through the prophecies of the 
Old Testament from even Adam downwards, but the aorist (yvwpf- 
aa^) points to something actual, and, as such the realization of the 
prophecies presents itself to us ; by this that mystery was first made 
really known, which even the angels desired to look into (1 Peter i. 
12). It remains to be said, that we find here fla^a and evdonia 
separate, whereas in ver. 5 they were fused into one idea. Kara rqv 
VOL. V 3 

34 EPHESIANS I. 10. 

avrou, according to his good pleasure, joins itself to 
and denotes the yrupi&iv itself as an act of Divine benevolence ; on 
account of the following i)v TTpoeOeTo, svSonia is to be taken as = to 
" gracious decree/ because Trpot fcro is not adapted to express the 
" grace and favour of God," as permanent conditions ; on the other 
hand, rov.OeA,rmarog avrov denotes more closely the mystery of which 
mention is here made, as a voluntary act proceeding from the depths 
of the Divine being. As such, as an act of the Divine will, which 
has its ultimate basis in the being of God himself, Christ s manifesta 
tion and work is, and constantly remains, a mystery (Mwrn^Mov), 
whilst, in other points of view, considered in its appearance, it is 
an actual revelation, and is hence also presented as a subject of 
knowledge. Paul, again connecting what follows with evdonia by a 
relative, proceeds to give a more accurate account of God s gracious 
decree. In every case (whether we here again, as is most suitable, 
with Lachmann and Harless, read &v avrti, or even tv arw) the 
-rrpoKOero iv aurw, lie purposed in him, can only refer to God and 
his intentions, and not to Christ, since in what immediately fol 
lows (ver. 11), TrpoOeaig refers back to npo^Oero. If KV avrti meant 
to express that God s purpose realized itself in the person of Christ 
and in his work, it would have had its place at the close of the 
proposition, in this way : dg olKovo^iav rov -nvb/pajjua-o^ TGJV itaip&v 
KV avr&. But as to the import of olKovojj,ia } it depends on the con 
text how the general meaning " administration, disposition, arrange 
ment," is to be applied. In the passages 1 Cor. ix. 17 (compared 
with iv. 1) and Col. i. 25 okovo/ua denotes the apostolical office. 
Here, according to the context, it refers to the dispensation of the 
grace of God in Christ, and the word olicovofila for " incarnation" is 
quite familiar to the Fathers, perhaps with reference to this pas 
sage. (See Suiceri Thesaur. Eccles. s. v.) But the elg denotes the 
object towards which God s purpose (rrpodeatg) is directed. This ob 
ject is, finally, with regard to time, more nearly defined by the addi 
tion rov TrA^pwjuarof rtiv itcup&v, of the fulness of times. One expects, 
perhaps, " in the fulness of times ;" genitive construction (OLKO- 
von ia rov -/.T/pWjUaro?) denotes the dispensation of God in Christ 
but regarded as one that belongs to the fulness of times. On this 
phrase itself see the remarks on Gal. iv. 4, where TrAT/pwjua rov %povov 
stands parallel to it. It implies, of itself, no reference to the rjucpa 
ivxdrr), last day (although it is true that the apostles looked on 
the time of the second advent of the Messiah as, at the same time, 
the T&T} -<Zv aluvuv) ; the Trvb/pw/m rather involves merely a refer 
ence to a pre-established term, up to which the time is considered 
as being fulfilled. 

Yer. 10. The avanzfyaXaiuaaaBat ra irdvra iv TW Xptarw is named 
as the ultimate aim of the mysterious Divine decree. In these 

EPHESIANS I. 10. 35 

words we have first to consider the import of the term dvane^a- 
Xaiovv. In Rom. xiii. 9, we had the word in the meaning, "to 
comprise under a K&fxfaatov, i. c., to comprehend, sum up, under 
a radical idea." Since the question here is concerning a gather 
ing together under the person of Christ, the word can only he 
referred to the idea of KefyaXrf, to which indeed its composition 
does not primarily lead. Christ, that is to say, here appears to 
he described as he, in whom, as the head, God has gathered to 
gether everything, so that he governs all as Lord and Regent of 
the world. The elements of rd ndv-a, are thus distributed : rd 
re KV rolg oipavo7.g teal rd e~l n~jg y/fc, both things in heaven and 
things on earth. According to this the dvaKeQahaiucaaOai would 
appear as the result of giving to Christ all power, etc. (8667] Xpiorti 
Trdoa K^ovoia ev ovpavti nal ETTI yfjg, Matth. xxviii. 18, compared with 
Matth xi. 27) J and of the ndvra vmra^ev vrrb rovg ~6dag avrov of 
Paul (1 Cor. xv. 26, with reference to Ps. viii. 7). The passage 
would seem, according to this, to have no especial difficulties ; the 
neuter ra -rrdvra, rd re KV roig ovpavofg, it. r. A., might he left in all 
their indefiniteness, and we might understand by them not merely 
persons, but these together with all other forms of the creation, in 
one word, the creation as a whole, which Christ rules by his power. 
Evil itself, with its representatives, must carry out Christ s almighty 
will ; it too is, although repugnant, gathered under Christ as the 

But, for several reasons, we are not satisfied with this mode of 
taking the passage. First, Paul uses the figure which represents 
Christ as the " head of the body," not so as to make the body represent 
the universe, but the church (see Eph. i. 22, iv. 15, v. 23 ; Col. i. 
18, ii. 19). We should thus be obliged to say that dvaKefiahaiw- 
vaaQai is here to be taken, without reference to the metaphor of 
the body, merely in the meaning, "to gather together under one s 
rule," for which Col. ii. 10, the only passage in which itecpa^rj seems 
to have a wider reference than merely to the church, might be 
quoted. Again the entire context in our passage seems adverse to 
that view. The iiwn jptov, of the operation of which Paul here 
speaks, is assuredly nothing but redemption through Christ ; this, 
therefore, appears here also to be necessarily prominent in the dvaKe- 
tiakaiuaaaOat,, as the grand aim of the uvarrjoiov. The parallel pas- 
sae Col. i. 20, where dTTOKaraAkd^ai stands in a like connection, and 
the & avrov is more nearly defined by did rov aluarog rov oravpov 
avrov raises this supposition to certainty. The meaning- of the 
apostle must, therefore, here also be taken thus, that God, through 
Christ s atonement, has gathered together all things, whether in 
heaven or on earth, in him as the head, *. e., knit them together 
into living, harmonious unity, in opposition to the present state of 

36 EPHESIANS I. 10. 

dissension and enmity, which is expressed in Col. i. 20 by 
tfac, which Biihr erroneously separates from d^oaaraX^d^ai. True, 
the same critic (on Col. i. 20) has chosen to explain the dnoica-ah- 
by the word in our passage, instead of, conversely, our dvanetia- 
, by that ; but it has already been remarked, in opposition 
to that, on several hands, and recently in particular by Harless, that 
the more general expression may recently be explained by the more 
special) but not the more special one by the more general. Now, if 
we consider more nearly that idea which the apostle intends us to 
recognize in this passage, it cannot be disputed that in it the resto 
ration of all things (dTrottardaraoig r&v rtdvruv) seems to be again 
favoured, a view which Paul in general, as has been already remarked 
on Eom. xi. 32 ; 1 Cor. xv. 24, seq. ; Gal. iii. 22, says more to sup 
port than the other writers of the New Testament. (See, however, 
in contrast to these passages, 2 Thess. i. 19, and the remarks thereon 
in my Comm.) For, even putting the rd rs iv rotg ovpavolg quite out 
of sight, the words dvaite^aXaiuoaodai rd ndvra rd em rijg y?fc, alone, 
seem to express the conversion of all men ; for, to confine the con 
ception of the Trdvra fat T?fr yfj$ } all things on earth, to those on 
earth, who are elected to salvation according to God s gracious elec 
tion, seems altogether arbitrary ; the words speak of all without 
exception. But, add still the rd re iv roig ovpavoig, and it is very 
conceivable how the defenders of the restoration could understand 
rd Trdvra of the universe, and rd re ev rdlg ovpavolg real rd em 
nfr yijg of the two halves of the universe, the spiritual and the ma 
terial world, in such a way that in both halves all beings,* there 
fore also evil spirits, along with their prince, the devil (whom, 
as spirits, Paul, at Eph. vi. 12, transfers to the celestial world), 
would be yet converted, through the might of the atonement, 
and gathered together under Christ as the head.f The various 
ways by which interpreters have sought to evade this explana 
tion are but little satisfactory. Some understand the "things in 
heaven" of those who died in the hope of salvation, who were con 
verted and atoned for by Christ ; thus Beza, Calixtus, Suicer, Wolf, 
and others. Others, as Schottgen, Ernesti, and several others, pro 
posed to understand the Jews by those in heaven, by those on earth 
the Gentiles. According to Schleiermacher (in the essay on Col. i. 16, 
seq., of which we shall speak further on that passage), the things in 
heaven here denote "all matters relating to Divine worship, and the 

* The rabbins distinguish between a familia quse supra, and one qua? infra, est. See 
"Wetstein on this passage. 

f It is especially Origen who first openly announced and spread this interpretation. 
That Father, besides this, assumed, altogether arbitrarily, that Christ had suffered sev 
eral times in the different spheres of the universe, for the redemption of their respective 

EPHESIANS I. 10. 37 

dispositions of mind thereto relating," " the things on earth," on the 
other hand, "all that belongs to earthly kingdoms, to civil order 
and legal conditions." 

Others, again, understand the good angels by ra & rolg ovpavdl^ ; 
so Calvin, who, without proof, advanced the assertion, that by 
Christ s atonement the good angels are established in purity, so that 
they can no more fall away ; and Chrysostom, Anselm, Calovius, 
who understood our passage as referring to an enmity of the good 
angels against men who had become wicked, which Christ had put an 
end to. Finally, Biihr, Tholuck, Bohmer, and others, also refer this 
to the good angels, but regard the enmity which was appeased, as 
not existing in them, but in man, so that, thus, only a restoration of 
peace between the two divided parties, of which one alone bears the 
guilt, is asserted. Against each of these interpretations, however, 
there are so many well-founded objections (as may be seen in detail 
in Harless, in his Comm., ad. h. 1.), that we can adopt no one of 
them. The universality of the ra -rrdvra, and the equally general 
division of this collective whole, rd re iv rolg ovQavol<; ital ra m rijg 
y?fc, preclude us from thinking of anything individual, whether in 
heaven or on earth. On the contrary, we are, no doubt, to conceive 
not of personal conscious beings alone, though of them especially, 
but of the whole urimc., even the unconscious part of it, which Paul 
in Kom. viii. 17, seq., expressly designates as having part in the re 
demption through Christ ; and indeed we have to refer this Kriatg 
not merely to the earth, but also to the celestial world. The 
reconciliation through Christ is, therefore, to Paul, a fact whose 
influences pervade the universe, which affects the conscious and the 
unconscious creation equally, whether, or not, as in the world of 
good angels, they be themselves touched by sin. Most of the in 
terpretations quoted contain, therefore, elements of truth ; they fail 
principally from the circumstance that they make these one-sided 
elements pass for the whole. Harless, too, maintains in this passage 
a reference to the totality as related to the work of redemption. 
" Everything," says he, p. 52, " whether in heaven or on earth, has 
a share in that fact." 

In Col. i. 20, Harless finds a Zeugma, because dnoKara^d^ai re 
lates primarily to the things on earth ; " and yet," continues he, " it 
cannot be called a Zeugmatic connexion, as undoubtedly also what 
is in heaven is reconciled with the rest, in that it is included with 
the rest in the final development of the work of reconciliation, which 
delivers the whole creation." Paul, therefore, does not mean to 
speak " as if there were an actual need of redemption in heaven, 
or as making heaven merely a figure of speech ; he would seem for 
this reason thus to express himself, because the Lord and Creator of 
the whole body, of which heaven and earth are members, has in the 

38 EPHESIANS I. 10. 

restoration of the one body, restored the whole body ; and the greatest 
significance of redemption consists in this, that it is not merely 
a restoration of the life of this earth, but a restoration of the har 
mony of the universe." But this interpretation leaves unresolved 
the principal difficulty, viz., how Paul could say that all have a 
share in redemption, that it is a restoration of the harmony of the 
universe, if he shared the common view that the numberless 
hosts of angels who fell, along with the by far greatest part of man 
kind (Matth. vii. 13, 14), are eternally damned, and thus shut out 
from the harmony of the universe. The defenders of "universal 
restoration" understand " the harmony of the universe" seriously in 
its literal meaning, and seem, according to that, to be here in the 
right. Certainly, if taken in their isolation, the two passages, Eph. 
i. 10 ; Col. i. 20, cannot be explained otherwise. But the interpre 
ter has the task not merely of explaining separate passages, but also 
of elucidating the separate passages from the general tenor of the 
ideas of the writer to whom they belong, and again of throwing light 
on the ideas of the individual writer (of course without encroaching 
on his individuality), in connexion with the expressions of the prim 
itive Christian doctrine in all the writers of the New Testament. 
According to this, it may perhaps be affirmed that Paul is the 
writer in the New Testament who touches on the doctrine of 
eternal damnation most rarely, leaves it most in the background, 
and contains most of the expressions which, considered per se } seem 
to teach a general restoration. Still, we cannot say he teaches that 
doctrine decidedly ; partly, because he nowhere enunciates it out 
right, but always in such a way only that we are led to it by infer 
ence ; partly, because the other writers of the New Testament, and 
especially in the Gospels our Lord himself, so expressly maintain 
the contrary. Now, as regards the two passages (Eph. i. 10, and 
Col. i. 20), it might be the most simple plan to make the meaning 
we obtain from them harmonize with the general doctrinal type of 
the Scriptures, by putting prominently forward in the infinitives 
dvaK(j)a/MiuoaaOai. aTro/cara/Jlafai, the purpose of God, which, in the 
establishment of that redemption which is furnished with infinite 
power, tends to the restoration of universal harmony, and to the re 
covery of all that was lost, so that the sense would be the same as 
in the passages 1 Tim. i. 4, 6. " God will have all men to be saved, 
he has given himself a ransom for all." But that, through the un 
faithfulness and wickedness of man, this purpose is not fulfilled, 
and that many men are not benefitted by it, is a subject that the 
apostle has no occasion to put forward. It cannot be objected 
to this, that surely God, in his omniscience, foreknows that the 
fallen angels would not be converted, for he knows that just 
as well of men, who continue in unbelief ; but a reference of Divine 

EPHESIANS I. 11. 39 

grace, which reaches its highest climax in Christ and his work, to 
the evil spirits, must, according to God s universal all-embracin^ 
compassion, necessarily be supposed ; although this very grace, in 
consequence of their continued resistance, effects the very opposite 
of reconciliation, viz., the utmost obduracy. (Lachmann reads fal 
[for tv] roig ovpavoig, in which he follows B.D.E. But the connex 
ion of em with ovpavols is so entirely unusual and unsuitable in itself 
that we can scarcely take the reading for anything more than a 
copyist s error.) 

Ver. 11.- The v avrti concludes the sentence with a retrospect 
to KV XpiCTToi, on one side, but, with KV w icai, also makes a transi 
tion to what follows. But here the question is, first of all, whether 
tK^Tjdrjpev or iK^rjpuO^ev should be read. A.D.E.F.G., and the 
Itala (Italic version) are in favour of KK^Orj/iev, which, there 
fore, Lachmann also has received into the text, and, indeed, accord 
ing to his principles, was obliged to do. But EKkTjpuOrjpev, though 
less supported by critical authorities, is yet favoured by its rareness, 
and the difficulty of explaining it. The origin of iitMfliinev in an 
explanatory gloss, which was written in the margin on e/tATfpaJO^ue? , 
is very simply brought about ; the origin of KKhrjpudqiiev, on the 
contrary, in case it is not genuine, admits no explanation. Now 
there is, doubtless, couched in the word ntypovodai, as most and the 
best interpreters acknowledge, a reference to the Old Testament 
phrase rrn? nVr-j, which the LXX. translate by K/tr/pof QSGV (Dcut. iv. 
20, ix. 26, 2&). To this we are also led especially by the parallel 
passage, Col. i. 12, by which we must certainly be very greatly 
guided in the interpretation of our expression, since both were 
written at one time, and from one circle of ideas. KXrjpovaOai, there 
fore, here denoted the realization, in time, of the cK/toy?) kv XpmroJ, 
which was treated of above. But the -rrpoopioOevreg Kara -poOeaiv, 
being predestinated according to the purpose, has a reference to 
God s eternal decree (see on vers. 5, 9), which, as a decree of the 
Almighty (rov ra -dvra tvepyovvrog), necessarily includes its realiza 
tion also. The prcedestinatio sanctorum, as we defined it on Kom. 
ix. 1, is again quite unmistakably couched in this passage. It might 
seem, however, that the ra -xdvra led further to a reprobatio impio- 
rum also. But the determining clause Kara rrjv [3ov^v rov de^jfia- 
rog avrov, according to the counsel of his will, excludes that. Evil, 
as such, is against God s will ; it is only in giving it a concrete shape 
that God s hand is manifest in regard to it ; in regard to the form 
of evil, we cannot hesitate, as has been already said at Kom. ix. 1, to 
recognize the Almighty s influence on evil. (The connexion of /Sou/I?/ 
with rov Oehtfparog is to so be explained that the Divine will, in an 
active sense, is represented as shewing itself in individual actions ; 
is, therefore, the more general, Povfaj the more special ) 

40 EPHESIANS I. 12, 13. 

Ver. 12. As in ver. 5 so here again too the praise of the Divine 
glory is set forth as the object of the calling of men ; but whereas 
hitherto ^tig in comprehensive generality denoted "all believers and 
elect," without reference to their origin, here it appears in opposition 
to vi-ielg in ver. 13. That Paul by this word does not mean to desig 
nate merely himself and his immediate companions, in opposition 
to the readers of the epistle, is unmistakably shewn by the limita 
tion rovg npo^TrcKorag iv TW Xpt<7To5, ivho had previously hoped in 
Christ. But in -poefaifav we find merely a reference to the position 
of the Jews in opposition to the Gentiles. Whilst in the history of 
the people of Israel from the very beginning a constant reference to 
the coming of the Messiah may be traced, the Gentiles lived without 
this hope. It was only when they heard the preaching of Christ, who 
had then already appeared, that they received the first knowledge of 
him. The details of the relative position of the Gentiles to the Jews, 
and their fusion into a higher unity in the church of Christ, occupy 
Paul afterwards (ii. 11, seq.) But the most difficult question here is 
whether the participle rovg Trpo^mnora^ KV -w Xpmrw is merely an 
apposition to ?}/?, or the predicate of the proposition elg -b dvai 
7/pZf, K. -. X. The former is the more usual construction, but it is 
convincingly proved by Harless that the other deserves the prefer 
ence ; for since mention has already been made above, vers. 5 and 9, 
of the Trpoopi&iv and the TrpoOeaig in general, it would be strange 
to see those ideas repeated here just in the same way. On the other 
hand, the connexion presents itself in an entirely different way if 
we take the passage thus : " predestined, that we to the praise 
of his glory should be those who already beforehand hoped in 
Christ." The only objection to this otherwise entirely satisfactory 
construction, is, as appears to me, that according to it iv w not KKAIJ- 
pu8r]Liv TTpoopioOti Tss, in the former sentence, must, according to 
Paul s meaning, denote the Jews alone, in which case there is no 
transition to them intimated ; whereas, in the other version of the 
construction, the transition from the general meaning of ?///% to 
the special one appears somewhat more strongly marked in rovg 
TTporj^mKorag. However, this can be no decisive argument against 
that explanation, because the transition to the special meaning of 
rjiJ-eig is, at all events, a gradual one. 

Ver. 13. With this contrast of Jews and Gentiles, the latter 
of whom are here denoted by fyteZf, and the connexion of vers. 11 
and 12, we can, at KV o> not vfiets, only suppply from ver. 11 the 
leading term t-K/^pw^-g. To the Jews, as the first called, the 
Gentiles are added, but only by their hearing the preaching of the 
word of truth ; whereas the former had previously learnt to hope 
through the predictions of the Prophets. It seems, then, unnecessary 
to inclose, with Griesbach, the clause dtcovoav-eg ourTjpiag V[MV in 

EPHESIANS I. 14. 41 

brackets, and indeed Lachmann has rightly cancelled them. For in 
the lv o> Kal rua-evaavreg the previous iv o> nal vnelg is not merely re 
sumed, but the idea is carried out materially farther ; that is to 
say, moTweiv, together with afypayioQrprai TW TTVEVIWTI dytw, is joined 
to duoveiv. (See, on the use of afypayi&iv = J3ej3aiovv, " to con 
firm, corroborate/ the remarks on John iii. 33, vi. 27 ; 2 Cor. i. 
22.) The Holy Ghost, who is here designated as -nvEvjia rfc t-Trayye- 
/UV , inasmuch as he had been already promised to mankind through 
the prophecies of the Old Testament [Joel iii. 1 ; Zach. xii. 10], is 
the Author of the sealing of the Faithful.) 

Ver. 14. Finally, Paul closes these introductory words, and 
that series of propositions which are linked together by means of re 
latives, beginning with ver. 6, with the more accurate characteriza 
tion of the Holy Ghost as an earnest of the inheritance which awaits 
the Faithful. Paul calls the Spirit dppafiuv in 2 Cor. i. 22, v. 5, also. 
(See the Comm. on those passages.) But here it is at the same 
time more definitely declared of ivliat he is the earnest viz., of the 
inheritance (K^iyxwofiia). That by this Paul understands final salva 
tion, and especially the kingdom of God, has been already remarked 
on Gal. v. 21. (See also Eph. v. 5.) Then the believer becomes en 
tirely an element of the spiritual life, of which what ho receives 
here from the Spirit is only the foretaste ; then will the earthly 
sphere be covered by the Spirit as the waves of the sea. The two 
concluding parallel clauses beginning with elg, point to the ultimate 
aim of all spiritual activity, to the final redemption of the people of 
the possession, and to the praise of the glory of God. (Cf. vers. 5, 
12.) That redemption here does not denote the beginning of the 
new life, as in ver. 7, is clear from the context ; it is the final, com 
plete redemption, not only of the individual, but also of the whole, 
just as at Eom. viii. 23 ; 1 Cor. i. 30. It is best to take the addi 
tion rijg TTspnroi rjaeug passively, and to assume that the abstract is 
put for the concrete, 7Tpi7roii]oig, possession, for Trepi-oirjOKVTeg, those 
possessed. There is couched, no doubt, in the choice of the word 
a reference to the Old Testament denomination of the people of 
Israel " nao. See Exod. xix. 5 ; Deut. vii. 6, xiv. 2 ; Tit. ii. 14 ; 
1 Pet. ii. 9. ("Og in the beginning of ver. 14 refers not to Christ, 
but to nvevfia aywv. The masculine stands with reference only to 
the following appaftuv, and also, we may suppose, as in John xiv. 26 
[on which see the Comm.], to the Holy Spirit regarded as a person.) 

42 EPHESIANS I. 15-17. 

(i. 15 ii. 10.) 

Vers. 15, 16. Whilst the section from ver. 3 to ver. 14 was pro 
perly only an effusion of love annexing itself to the usual thanks 
giving at the beginning of the epistle, Paul only comes now to the 
formal commencement of the epistle, as the parallel passage, Col. 
i. 3, 4, 9, shews. He expresses himself, however, as to the faith and 
love of his readers in such a way, that we see he did not know many 
of them personally. (See Introcl. 1.) To attribute to duoveiv the 
meaning " to know of oue s-self, to know by one s own observation," 
is, of course, entirely inadmissible. Col. i. 4 shews that dicoveiv is 
rather opposed to personal knowledge, for Paul had certainly not 
been in Colossas. Faith and love are, we may add, named here as 
the two chief utterances of religious life, to which hope is further 
joined at 1 Thess. i. 2, 3. Finally, the beginnings of the epistles in 
1 Cor. i. 4 ; Phil. i. 3 ; 2 Thess. i. 2, 3, are just like that of this 
epistle. (In ver. 15 the /cayw is to be referred to the prayer of all 
other believers, whom Paul supposes to exist, " as all thank, so do 
I also thank." We might expect in the first clause, TT\V naG* v[j.dg 
moriv, a repetition of the article before EV rw /cvp/w, as in TT)V dya- 
TTTJV rrjv elg. See on this point Harless, p. 84. Similar instances are 
found Rom. iii. 25 ; 2 Cor. vii. 7 ; Col. i. 4. Love is here described 
primarily as 0iAadeA</>i a, but true brotherly love in general love of 
man is necessarily implied. See 2 Pet. i. 7.) 

Ver. 17. The theme then of the prayer for the readers is, that 
God may vouchsafe them the spirit of wisdom, and of revelation, 
i. e.j that God may call forth among them the highest and noblest 
fruits of the Spirit. As just before (ver. 14), believers are repre 
sented as being sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and possess 
ing him as an earnest of the future inheritance, the Iva do>?/ vplv 
nvEv/ia, that he may give to you the Spirit, cannot be here under 
stood of the Spirit being given to them for the first time ; but 
only of his working in them in a peculiar and deeper way. There 
fore, when wisdom is again named here (as in ver. 8), it seems to 
be used of the charisma of wisdom, which we could not suppose at 
ver. 8, for this reason, if for no other, that there is not, and can 
not be, a charisma of prudence (Qpovijoig). (See on 1 Cor. xii. 8.) 
But the two words, oofaa and 0pdv??at, are in ver. 8 so united that 
either both or neither must be understood of a charismatical work 
ing of the Spirit. But here Spirit of wisdom (xvEvfia aofaag) seems, 
like " word of wisdom," 1 Cor. xii. 8, to stand for the charisma. 

EPHE$IANS I. 18. 43 

Paul, therefore, distinguishes the ordinary influences of the Holy 
Spirit, as they are even now active in the church, which rouse, 
heighten, and sanctify all men s powers, from their particular char- 
ismatical efficiency, which was exhihited only in the earliest times 
of the church. (Hvi-viia occurs directly for charismatq, in 1 Cor. 
xiv. 12 also.) This interpretation of iva 6ur] vplv nvev^a ao^iag is 
also the only way of explaining the difficult use of KCII, scil. rrvevfia 
dTTOKa^v^suc, which otherwise cannot he expounded at all satisfacto 
rily. For the charisma of d-ondXvipi<;, revelation, is hero, as at 1 
Cor. xiv. 6, 26, the capacity for receiving revelations , therefore for 
being a prophet. Would we, on the contrary, take diroKakvipig here 
in the entirely general meaning, " revelation of God to man," the 
following collocation of the words would be necessarily required : 
daw; v[uv dnoKaAvi^iv irvevfj-arog aofaag. To resort to hendiadys can 
plainly not soften the harshness of the collocation. 

Harless thinks Horn. xi. 29 most like our passage : no doubt the 
K^mg, which occurs further on in that passage, contains the basis of 
the %apia^ara,but the dirondkv ipig here does not so contain the ground 
for the oofiia ; on the contrary, according to this interpretation, 
nvsvpa is limited and determined by dnoicdXv^. That this can be 
thus brought in afterwards is certainly not established by any exam 
ple. (Iva with the following dw?? is not to be taken reXiic&g, but to be 
explained by the later less forcible use of the particle after words 
of commanding, begging, etc. See Winer s Gr. 44, 8. On 
6 Qebg rov Kvpiov see at ver. 3. The addition rra-f/p T?~/ 66^, father 
of glory, is explained, as to the sense, by the fact that. the sub 
sequently named charismata are precisely operations of the Divine 
glory ; but the form is unusual. We find in Acts vii. 2 the phrase 
6 Qsbg ~TI<; do|??f, which is found Ps. xxix. 3, also, in the LXX. for 
the Hebrew n^=n-?N. On the other hand, there is found Ps. xxiv. 7 
6 f3aaitev$ rfe 66^, the king of glory, for the Hebrew I lasfj Tfc?., but 
our phrase o rcarrjp rijg dofyg is without analogy. The assumption of 
a hendiadys, rendering it = 7ra~?}p zvdogoc, is not very probable ; the 
purpose is not here to add a laudatory epithet of God, but to express 
that the S6%a proceeds from God, that he is the source of it. It is 
therefore fittest to take 7rar//p here in the more extended sense 
of auctor,fons, just as at 2 Cor. i. 3, uar^p rtiv olnnp^v. In like 
manner, at John viii. 44, the devil is called 6 Trarifp rov tpevdovg, be 
cause lies proceed from him. The assumption of the Fathers, to 
which Bengel also assents, that $6%a is here a name of Christ, re 
quires no refutation, since it will scarcely find further approval.) 

Ver. 18. After the reference of Trvevna oo^ia^ not diroKa^s^ 
to the gifts of wisdom and prophecy, v imyv&ati avrov cannot, 
of course, be joined with what precedes (as those arc wont to sup 
pose, who take ver. 17 to allude only to the general working of 

44 EPHESIANS I. 18. 

the Spirit), but to what follows, so that the meaning of the words 
is this : " that he may give you spiritual gifts of wisdom and of 
revelation ; eyes enlightened with the knowledge of him." Now it is 
evident from the collocation, that the latter phrase denotes not some 
thing cliiferent or higher, along with the gifts of wisdom and revela 
tion (were that so, nai would not be wanting), but describes the 
subjective state of him, in whom the gifts of wisdom and revela 
tion are operative. The following clauses, viz., elg TO eldtvai vp,dg } 
rig OTIV } tc. r. A., contain the special enumeration of the different 
ways in which the gifts of wisdom and revelation diffuse light in the 
inner man. For QuTi&odat involves a reference to the Spirit, as the 
principle of light (see on John i. 4, 9), which enlightens man s soul 
(see Ps. xiii. 4). The proper connexion, however, of iv i-nLyvwaeL 
avTov is questionable. It has been proposed to take iv in the 
meaning of dg, and determine the sense thus : " may God give you 
enlightened eyes, that you may come to the knowledge of him." 
But, apart from the inadmissible interchange of the prepositions iv 
and etV, this sense does not here suit the context, because the knowl 
edge of God is to be presupposed in the readers as believers in Christ 
(ver. 15). (See on John xvii. 3.) We should rather take iv i-ni- 
yvwaei avrov as designating the already existing state of the read 
ers, on which spiritual enlightenment, as a higher grade of spiritual 
life, is to be grounded. The sense of the words would then have to 
be taken thus : " may God give you (possessing as ye do the knowl 
edge of God) enlightened eyes proceeding from that knowledge." 
This explanation is favoured by the parallel passage Col. i. 9, which 
is again to be compared here, and where in the words Iva xXr}- 
rr\v iniywaiv rov Oe^ijuarog avrov iv Trdd Q oofiia Kai ovvtazi 
riKq, that ye may be fitted with the knoivledge of his ivill, 
etc., the knowledge of God (which is only more accurately defined 
as the knowledge of his will in the work of redemption) is pre 
supposed in the same way, and an increase of wisdom is besought of 
God as proceeding from that knowledge : so that the words are 
to be paraphrased thus : Iva Tr/bypwO?/ 7 " 6 T ^ v iniyvwaiv d<; TO elvai 
iv aotyia. But the phrase dfydatyol TT/C Kapdiag, eyes of the heart, 
forms the chief difficulty in ver. 18, for it seems directly opposed 
to all biblical physiology. That is to say, the metaphor of the 
eye points necessarily to the perceptive faculty, and that this is 
really meant here the following elg TO eldevai t^af, that ye may 
know, shews ; KapSia, on the contrary, denotes, like A, the depart 
ment of the Vw/ which feels and desires. (See Opusc. Theol. 
p. 159.) The reading of the text. rec. diavoiaq would certainly re 
move the difficulty completely, but it is manifestly a mere correc 
tion of the difficult word tcapdia$ (perhaps caused by the iotiono^voi 
T?} 6iavoia } iv. 18), and therefore cannot be approved. How, if 

EPHESIANS 1. 18. 45 

diavoiag stood orignally in the text, could napdiaq have sup 
planted it ? But, if we look into the idiom of the New Testa 
ment, analogies are by no means wanting by which this unusual 
connexion may be explained. Thus we read in John xii. 40, voelv 
KapSia, where diavoig, would have been expected also, and mention is 
often made in the Old and New Testaments of the thoughts of the 
heart, (See Matt. xv. 19 ; Luke xxiv. 38 ; Heb. iv. 12.) We are 
not, in these forms of expression, to suppose a careless confusion of 
the faculties of thinking and feeling, nor a synecdoche, by which 
napdia stands for the whole man ; they are rather to be explained as 
follows. (See at Luke ii. 35 in the Comm.) The Scriptures speak 
.of a thinking, or of thoughts, of the heart, when they mean to ex 
press emphatically that man has yielded to these thoughts with his 
inclination, has made them acts of his personality. If this is not 
the case, if they are mere processes of thought, into which the 
inclination has not entered, they appear as the mere thoughts of 
the head, if I may so express myself. Thus, too, the phrase 
" enlightened eyes of the heart" is not the same as " enlightened 
eyes of the mind (yovq) ;" it expresses more ; presupposing the en 
lightenment of the vovg } it at the same time expresses the gaining 
over of the innermost inclination to the enlightening principle. 
Balaam, e. g. } shews that a high degree of spiritual enlightenment 
can be united with a turning away of the heart from the enlighten 
ing principle. Paul does not mean to speak of such a one, but of 
that enlightenment which makes the innermost core of the person 
ality inclined to it, and which fills with its light both spirit and soul 
in all their faculties. As the result now of this operation of grace, 
for which he prays, is the " knowing what is the hope of his call 
ing," etc. Now, that here the question is not of a merely external 
intellectual acquaintance with the objects named, is self-evident, 
for man can attain that without a special operation of grace ; such 
a knowledge is rather meant, which is, at the same time, an actual 
experience, so that he who hopes already bears in himself (in the 
germ at least) the future and the eternal. Thus, too, yvumg or 
(-LJVUOK; in Scripture is to be taken as an essential knowledge, as 
such a knowledge as makes the man actual possessor and receiver 
of what he knows. (See on John xvii. 3.) I may add that I can 
not, with Bohmer and Harless, establish, between the two forms 
yv&au; and imyvuais, the distinction of a more, and a less accurate 
knowledge ; for, evan if it is true, that in compounds with ixi the 
meaning of the simple word usually appears strengthened, yet we 
do not find in the dialect of the New Testament, and especially of 
Paul, this rule applied, in the cases of yv&otf and Iniyvaai?. In that 
very place, in which mention is made of the most exalted form of 

46 EPHESIANS I. 19. 

knowledge, the charismatic yvtiaig, not hriyvuot$ t is used. (See 1 
Cor. xii. 8, xiii. 8.) 

Ver. 19. The object as to which the Spirit is to enlighten the 
readers of the epistle is a single one, in which, however, all that is 
worthy to be known is comprised, viz., future glory, the kingdom of 
God in its completeness. Paul treats of this one object under three 
heads. In the first, rig r\ iking rTjg ttArjaeug avrov } hope cannot be 
taken as a subjective state, on account of the rig, for the question 
here cannot be of the degree of the subjective state of hope, as an 
object of heightened knowledge, but only of the magnitude of the 
object of the hope itself. Tig is here, as in the following passages, 
= 7Tora~6g. The sense is, therefore, " that you may know how ex 
alted the object of the hope is, which your calling of God holds out* 
to you." Understood of the subjective state, the words could only 
be translated thus : " That ye may know of what nature the state 
of hope is, which your calling of God brings forth in you." This 
would require for rig another meaning here than in the two other 
clauses ; besides, it requires no special operation of grace to know 
of what nature is the subjective hope ; but it is really required to 
know the true object of the hope, viz., the still hidden kingdom of 
God, to which believers are called. The very general phrase, i/^lg 
rrjg KArjoeug, is then in the second place designated as the " inheri 
tance" >*o which believers have a claim after their adoption as chil 
dren (ver. 5), and the earnest of which is the spirit which God has 
given them (ver. 14). Its magnitude is expressed by the words 
" what the riches of the glory" (Col. i. 27) ; this glory is incompre 
hensible to the natural man, the enlightened eyes of the heart alone 
can conceive it. (See on 1 Cor. ii. 9.) The connexion of iv rdig 
dyioig is uncertain. Koppe and Winer (Gr. p. 129*) join it with rig 
scil. ion : " how great in the saints is the riches of the glory of the 
inheritance." But Harless has shewn, with the most cogent argu 
ments, this connexion to be quite inadmissible ; if this were the 
meaning, iv rolg dyioig must have been put earlier, viz., before TTAOV- 
rog, and this connexion would lay the stress on iv rolg dyioig, which 
the context requires to be laid on rrAovrog. According to the paral 
lel passages, Numbers xviii. 23, Acts xx. 32, xxvi. 18, iv rolg dyioig 
can be connected only with K/b/pot o/ua, and iv can be taken only as 
" among," iv [teau. It is to be supposed that the same idea floated 
before Paul s mind, that is expressed in the Gospels by the formula 
"to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," viz., the union of 
the faithful with all the saints of the Old Testament in the kingdom 
of God. As the third branch of the more exalted knowledge wrought 
by the Holy Ghost, is named finally ri rb v~ep{3dAXov [leyedog TT/O 6vvd~ 
avrov elg ruiag rovg TTLarevovrag, what the exceeding greatness of 
* In "Winer s sixth ed. the explanation and reference are erased. [K. 

EPHESIANS I. 20. 47 

his power, etc. Judging from the reference to the hope and the in 
heritance, the magnitude of the Divine power, to the knowledge of 
which God s Spirit leads, is also to be specially referred to the future 
revelation, to the faithful, in that they are prepared for the kin"-- 
dom of God, which is the inheritance. This power of God, which 
perfects believers, works, it is true, even here below in them, and is 
in its operation on earth a pledge for their future perfection ; but it 
will not be manifested in its full magnitude until the consummated 
development of all things through the resurrection of the dead, and 
their putting on the spiritual body. (We find in the New Testa 
ment t>7Tp j 3aAAG), as also t Trep/SaAAdvrwf, v-ep/3oA^, in Paul alone. See 
2 Cor. iii. 10, ix. 14 ; Eph. ii. 7, iii. 19.) 

Ver. 20. Paul adduces the work of God in Christ, his resurrection 
from the dead, as the highest expression of the Divine power, as is 
usually the case in the New Testament ; in proportion to this power 
(/card ri]v tvepyeiav, K. r. A.), God works also on the faithful (elg 
rovg marevovra^. In this connexion, it cannot well be doubtful, 
that the overwhelming magnitude of the power, of which men 
tion was made just before, is to be specially referred, according to 
Paul s meaning, to the general resurrection of all believers from the 
dead, with, which the kingdom of God, the sacred object of Chris 
tian hope, reveals itself in its glory. The resurrection of the body 
is, that is to say, the most exalted manifestation of God as the 
power and the true life in man, according to the scriptural mode 
of viewing and representing truth. In favour of this we may quote 
also the passage ii. 1, in connexion with ver. 5, which is united 
immediately with our passage, as all that intervenes is merely a series 
of subordinate ideas, which have Christ s praise and glory for their 
object. The here proposed connexion of Kara, rfjv iveyyeiav, K. -. A., 
"in accordance with the energy," etc., which thus more nearly de 
fines the v-ep(3dkkov [teyeOog, K. r. A. (an interpretation which every 
thing favours), might .seem opposed by a comparison of Col. ii. 12, 
a passage certainly closely allied to ours. For there it is iv & 
(XpfOTw) teal ovvr/yKpO^re did r^g -niareug rijg ivepydag rov Qeov } rov 
Kjeipavrog avrbv in r&v veKp&v. Here rtiortg rift evepyeiag rov 6eoy, 
is, no doubt, " the faith which God effects, which he has called forth 
by his operation." According to this, we might (with Ba hr) think 
it needful to connect here too roijg morevovrag with Kara n]v evepysiav, 
" who believe by means of the operation of God," i. e., who have 
attained to faith through God s power. But it is clear that AVO must 
not stretch the application of the parallel passages so far as thereby 
to prejudice the context now before us (though, no doubt, if our 
epistle is borroived from Col., these passages must be in reference to 
it particularly regarded). Here the following fjv tvrjpyijoe removes 
all doubt that Kara r?> ivepyuav defines more exactly the v 

48 EPHESIANS I. 20-23. 

rijg dwajuewf. (The construction Kara rrjv evepyeiav rov #pa- 
rovg TT/C laxvog avrov has analogies in passages like Eph. vi. 10 ; Job 
xxi. 23. A purposeless heaping up of synonyms can by no means 
be assumed in it. The wtpyua is, in the first place, the actual put 
ting forth of power ; this word, therefore, stands out quite clearly 
and distinctly from the two others. Kpdrog and ioxvg are certainly 
more closely connected. But the two are distinguished according 
to Harless, lo%vs denoting power in itself, strength, Kpdrog its ex 
ternal relation, might, the prevailing over another. Calvin says, 
in like manner, robur est quasi radix, potentia autem arbor, cfficacia 
fructus.) . 

Hitherto the construction has been perfectly natural from ver. 
15 ; but after the eyeipag avrov KK venp&v follows a series of clauses 
(vers. 20-23) which, all of them, relate to Christ, and his glory, 
and are connected with one another only by icai } as above (vers. 
"6-14) a series of propositions was connected merely by relatives. 
At ii. 1 Paul again takes up the idea in ver. 19, but lets it drop 
again immediately, in order to deduce some subordinate ideas con 
nected by relatives in vers. 2, 3 ; it is only at ii. 4, seq., that he 
finally adheres to the leading idea, in order to conclude it in ver. 7. 
This character of the style implies a great commotion in Paul s 
soul when he wrote, and which did not permit any regular ordering 
of his thoughts, but compelled him to pour them out, as it were, 
in a stream. 

Vers. 20-23. This passage is a leading one for Paul s doctrine 
concerning Christ. It receives its complement from other important 
passages, from which the knowledge of Paul s doctrine of Christ, 
which he elsewhere generally supposes to be known, admits of being 
gathered, particularly from Col. i. 14-19. For, while in Colossians 
Christ is conceived of rather in his eternal, timeless, existence, 
as the Word which was in the beginning, as John expresses him 
self, he is here represented pre-eminently in his humanity, and 
that too in its exaltation by his ascension into heaven, and his 
sitting, at the right hand of God, as Kuler of the World. In 
this reference to Christ s human nature, the Epistle to the Philip- 
pians is the complement to our passage ; for that epistle (ii. 9-11) 
describes, precisely as here, Christ s exaltation, yet immediately be 
fore (ii. 6-8) depicts his humiliation in its several stages. The 
entire Christology of Paul is therefore comprised in three passages 
Eph. i. 20-23 ; Col. i. 14-19 ; Phil. ii. 6-11. To avoid repetitions, we 
once for all, as to what is here omitted in respect of the doctrine of 
Christ, refer to the explanations of Phil. ii. 6-11, and Col. i. 14-19. 
To the resurrection of Christ from the dead Paul annexes, first of 
all (ver. 20) his sitting at the right hand of G-od in the heavenly 
world, which presupposes his ascension. As sitting at the right 

EPHESIANS I. 20-23. 49 

hand of God, however (see on the ttaOi&iv iv dsgia rov Qeov at Matth. 
xxvi. 62-66, and on iv rotg irrovpavioi^ at Eph. i. 8, compared with 
Heh. viii. 1) Christ, as participating in the Divine government of 
the world, is more exalted than every created and therefore de 
rived power. The expressions v-rrepdvu (here = vrrep, see also iv. 10, 
and Heb. vii. 26, ix. 5) Trdarjg dp;^? KOI i^ovaia^ ical dwd^eug KOI KV- 
pi6r7]Tog of course denote, in an especial manner, heavenly powers, 
without furnishing any ground for our understanding good or lad 
angels alone. Christ seems merely meant to be designated (as 1 
Cor. xv. 24, where also dp^7J } i&vaia, and dvvaiug stand together) 
generally as the Kuler of all rulers, without reference to their moral 
condition. In Col. i. 16 the following four words stand together in 
a like way, 6povot } Kvpiornreg, dpx,ai, i%ovoiai, also without distinction 
between good and bad angels. But, as in Col. i. 16, so here too the 
accumulation of synonyms, to denote powers or dominions, seems to 
denote not merely heavenly powers, but also all which declares itself 
as a power or dominion. Thence it follows of itself that it cannot 
be more accurately pointed out hoio the individual expressions relate 
to different classes of angels ; that among the angels also there is 
supremacy and subordination, as among earthly creatures, is clear ; 
but how they are distinguished cannot be shewn. 

The Rabbinical dreams as to the classes of angels are just as ca 
pricious and mutually contradictory as those of the Gnostics and 
Mystics. (See on that point Harless, ad h. 1.) How very generally 
Paul conceives the idea of dominion is especially shewn by the ad 
dition Kal TTavrbg 6v6p.aTog } K. r. A., in which by ovopa every personal 
entity, and, with reference to what precedes, every personality in 
whatsoever way ruling, is denoted. We do not see, therefore, with 
what reason rulers of the earth should be excepted. We can, there 
fore, only say with Chrysostom : dpa ZOTI Swd^ewv nvuv dvop,a-a TJ[UV 
dorjfia Kal ov yvupi^opeva. The abstract forms, dp%7J } egovaia, K. r. A., 
are also, no doubt, meant to serve the purpose of keeping the idea 
of power as indefinite and general as possible. Therefore Meyer s 
hypothesis (ad. h. 1. ), which takes dvvdfietg to allude to the Hebrew 
KSS, and to denote hosts of angels, is altogether inadmissible. In 
the sense of hosts of angels the dpxai, the efrvoiai, K. r. A., belong 
rather to the dwd^eig, but here they are distinguished from them. 
We cannot with any certainty point to even a climax or an anticli 
max in the words. The concluding words of ver. 21, finally : ovo- 
ov fiovov iv TOJ al&vt, TOVTW, dAAa Kal iv TGJ HK^OVTI, named 

* That the expressions can denote lad angels also, the passages Eph. vi. 12, Col. ii. 
15, on which see the Comm., shew. The reasons why these expressions are used here, 
as also in Col. i. 16, is, we may suppose, to direct attention to the over-estimation of the 
angel world by many false teachers, not, it is true, actually existing at Ephesus, but possi 
ble at some future time. See Introd. 2. 

VOL. V. 4 

50 EPHESIANS I. 20-23. 

not only in, this ivorld, etc., would bring the question, whether 
earthly powers are also meant, to a decision, if with Meyer we 
might understand aluv jtieAAwv, of the heavenly world, and atwv 
ovrog of the earthly one. But we never find the phrases in the New 
Testament in this sense, but always in the well-known one al 
ready developed at Matth. xii. 32, which makes aluv OVTOS mean the 
terrestrial order of things, in which sin predominates, alwv //.e/Uwv the 
holy order of the world founded by Christ, which can be taken as 
having a purely spiritual, and at the same time also, an outward 
realization, just as Paaikeia rov Qeov admits of such a twofold accep 
tation. (See at Matth. iii. 2.) The words, therefore, only admit of 
being so taken as opposing the future to the present; " Christ is 
above whatever name can, not only now but also in future, be named." 
In the same way dyyeXoi and ap%ai are set by the side of evearura 
Kal jweAAovra in Rom. viii. 38. 

In ver. 22, Christ, exalted above all, is then more closely de 
scribed in his relation to what is subject to him ; for it is self- 
evident that, if the greater, the ruling, is subject to Christ, the 
inferior must be so still more. In na.vra v-tTa&, therefore, we are 
not to maintain a mere reference to the immediately preceding ap- 
%ai, i^ovoiai, K. r. A., but to extend it to the whole creation. This 
alone places a tautology with what precedes out of the question ; 
on the contrary, the irdvra vTrerafe appears as the necessary result of 
the KaOi&iv iv defta v-rrepdvu Trdorjc dpxfjg, K. r. A. But the connexion 
of Travra vTTKra^e with the following tf&o/ce iie^aArjv -y KKK^aia, and a 
comparison of the parallel passage, 1 Cor. xv. 25, seq. (where the 
allusion to the passages of the Old Testament, Ps. viii. 7, ex. 1, ap 
pears more clearly), seems to render necessary in our passage a fur 
ther especial reference for the phrase -ndvra v-i-a^e, n. r. A. That is 
to say, as the Head of the church, Christ is, of course, also its ruler, 
but, at the same time it clearly cannot be said that the members of 
the church are laid at Christ s feet ; Paul rather makes the relation 
of the Redeemer to the church appear entirely distinct. Accord 
ingly, the first clause of ver. 22 : teal ~dv~a vnera^ev VTTO rovg -xoSag 
avrov, and he put all things under his feet, should be referred spe 
cially to all that strives against Christ, and is repressed by his as 
cendancy (among which the unconscious part of the creation also is 
especially to be reckoned, see Phil. iii. 21), while the second clause : 
Kal avrov tdw/ce Ketyakrjv vTrep ndvra ry KKKAi-jaia refers to Christ s rela 
tion to those who have given themselves up to him in love, and have 
thereby become his property. The annexed " over all" only defines 
more closely the Kefia^ij ; the apostles and prophets also were in a 
certain sense heads of the church, but Christ was /ce^aA?) vnep -ndvra. 
(Riickert would retain here the proper meaning of didovat : " God 
has given Christ to the church as Head over all." But, according 

EPHESIANS I. 20-23. 51 

to iv. 11, it seems here also more suitable to take didovat, according 
to the Hebrew -jro, = -nOEvai, with the meaning "to appoint, to 
arrange according to a Divine decree.") 

In ver. 23, finally, the church is, in continuation of the metaphor 
of the Head, represented as Christ s body (see on 1 Cor. xii. 12), 
which is not merely guided by the head, but also filled with its life, 
whence the church itself is called Christ. But, before we enter on 
the explanation of the extremely obscure words TO 7rA7/p//a ~ov 
rrdv-a iv naai TrXrjpovpevov, the fulness of him, etc., both in them 
selves and in their connexion here, we must premise an inquiry into 
the usage of language in respect to the word nXripuua. The word 
has been deemed to contain a polemic allusion to Gnostic false teach 
ers, as combatted by Paul in the Epistle to the Colossians ; thus, 
among the moderns, especially Meyer and Bahr. That is to say, the 
later Gnostics, especially Valentine and his school, designated by 
Tr/b/pco/m the whole fulness of life of the kingdom of light, in oppo 
sition to the KKvupa ; now, Paul is supposed, on the contrary, to have 
represented Christ as the true Pleroma. (See Neander s Hist, of the 
Christian Church, vol. i. part 2, p. 466, seq.) But, first, it cannot 
be shewn that this use of the word already existed among the here 
tics of the apostolical age ; next, there was surely couched in the ap 
pellation TT/b/pw/ia itself nothing at all blameable, but only in the 
manner in which the false teachers conceived of the kingdom of light 
itself, and in opposition to the ner^m ; the mere use of the word 
could not refute any portion of that doctrine ; and, finally, we find 
in the passages of Ephesians and Colossians, in which Tr/U/pw/ia occurs 
(Eph. iii. 19, iv. 13 ; Col. i. 19, ii. 9), as Harless has already re 
marked ad h. 1., no intimation whatever that the term involves 
anything polemical ; the converse might rather seem the more 
probable, viz., that the Gnostics had borrowed the word from the 
appstolical vocabulary to express their ideas. But neither can we 
recognize a parallel between the rr/b/pwua and the well-known Rabbin- 
ical-cabalistical term firsc. This latter word, that is to say, denotes 
primarily (see Buxtorf lex. Talrn. p. 2394) a visible form of Di 
vinity, or, conversely, Divinity, in so far as he makes himself known 
to men in any visible form. (See on John i. 1.) This original mean 
ing might by degrees be confounded in the minds of men, and She- 
chinah stand directly for God ; but still it always mca.t (he S;m of 
God, the revenler of the Father, from whom the Holy Gh >st was 
not distinguished. But TT^pw/m, when used ot G.>d, is en irely <Jil- 
crcnt ; it denotes neither a form of the Divine manifestation, nor 
God himself as the revcaler, but only the infinite fulness of life, the 
manifold powers which the Divine essence comprises, and so God, 
as the Infinite One. A reference to the filling of the world l>y God 
is not, per se, couched in the expression, but oniy the fulness of 

52 EPHESIANS I. 20-23. 

God in himself. If we consider the word Tr/t^pw/ja in general more 
closely, we find that the two forms of the classical language, ir/lT/pw- 
OH; and TrA^pw/m, are in the New Testament comprised in the latter 
one. nAf/pwoYe is the act of filling, -n"kr\p(,^a the state of being filled, 
and the substance which fills. But even in classic writers the two 
words are reciprocally interchanged. (See Passow in voce.) In the 
dialect of the New Testament both meanings occur in the case of 
TT/iij^ta, the form Trhijpuoig is never found. Thus, at Rom. xiii. 10, 
in the words rrA^pwjua rov vo/.wv ? / ayarr?/, the word = TrAr/pcoatf , " love 
works the observance of the law." On the other hand, in Mark viii. 
20, oTTvpiduv TrA-T/pwjuaTa is "the filling of the baskets, what fills 
them," as Tr/Lr/pw/m Trd/lec^, " the inhabitants of a town." Thus 7rA?y- 
pw^a can, in our passage, and wherever it refers to God, either be 
only " God s filling act," or " the state of being filled." So at Col. 
ii. 9, it is Trdv TO nXrlpcopa rfjg deorrjrog, by which the Divine essence 
in itself seems to be designated (without reference to the world) as 
being filled with infinite powers. That passage elucidates the word 
TrXrjpuna in Col. i. 19, where nav rb rrAr/pw^a in like manner, can only 
be, " the Divine state of fulness, the Divine essence, as filled with 
infinite powers." Accordingly, in our passage the words rb nMjputjM 
rov rd irdvra iv ndot Tr&qpovpevov might be translated conformably to 
Paul s usage : " the Divine fulness of him who filleth all in all ;" so 
that Christ would be described in them as he in whom ndv rb 7r/by- 
pdyta rrjs Oeorrjrog Karoinei, dwells all the fulness of the Godhead, 
and who, as such, is able to fill the universe in all its forms with 
his powers. But this in itself admissible interpretation of the 
words fails when we come to the grammatical connexion ; rb TTA.??- 
pupa forms an apposition to atipa ; a retrospective reference of it 
to Christ is entirely inadmissible. For, if we would make it de 
pend on t duKe in the sense, "God made him to be the fulness 
of him that filleth all in all," the sense would be directly opposed 
to Paul s tenets, as Christ possesses the fulness of the Godhead, 
not through any act of the will of the Father, but by the ne 
cessity of his nature. It is only what is predicated of his human 
nature, as the setting him to be head of the church, that can be re 
ferred to acts of the Divine will. If we, therefore, understand TO 
TrAf/pWjua of the church, inasmuch as Christ, who fills all, fills it also, 
we find another stumbling-block in the participle TT^povpsvov, which, 
it seems, must be taken passively. The interpretation of Chrysos- 
tom, Theophylact, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Beza, Calvin, who 
understand TO nhripufia of the church, as complementum, the com 
plement of the 0aA?7, by which the body is made complete, is so 
utterly unsustained as to need no serious notice. For TrXijpufia can 
certainly mean "complement," but there only, where mention is 
made, as in Rom. xi. 12, of a deficiency (^rr^a), which is filled up, 


made good. And, besides, Christ is never called the head in such a 
way that the church forms the complement of it, and that thus he 
without the church, would be a mere head without a body, but so 
that he, inseparably united with the body of the church, fills it with 
his Spirit, and therefore is one with it, needs no complement. But 
as to irXrjpovfievos it is certainly true that Tr^povaOat occurs elsewhere 
only as a passive, for which reason Chrysostom, Theophylact, Je 
rome, would so take it here; but the TO, -rravra ev -ndoi by no means 
permits it, as Harless has convincingly shewn, and Winer (Gr. 38, 
6) acknowledges ; wherefore it only remains to recognize here a so 
lecism in the use of Tr^povadai in the middle form with an active 
meaning. With this view there is no objection to our referring these 
words to the church, as the body of our Lord ; it is called " the full 
ness of him who filleth all in all," in order to bring its high dignity 
prominently out, and set it in contrast to everything else. Christ is 
exalted above all power and might ; all adversaries God hath put 
under his feet ; but the church is his body, he fills it with his holy 
element of life. 

Chap. ii. 1. What has already been briefly observed above, with 
respect to the construction of this verse and its connexion with what 
precedes and what follows, must here first receive a more extended 
demonstration. We must, above all, separate the purely grammat 
ical connexion from the connexion of the ideas, which here do not 
run entirely parallel. According as the attention was fixed on the 
one or the other alone, different interpretations were arrived at, 
which in themselves could not satisfy. True, the connecting the 
ace., KOI t>jwaf, re. r. A., with the immediately preceding TT^QOV^VOV 
(which Calovius and Koppe recommended), or with -urn-age at the 
beginning of ver. 22, sufficiently refutes itself, and can make no 
pretensions to correctness. On the other hand, the connecting of 
ii. 1 with ver. 19, as also that of ii. 1 with ii. 4, 5, have both a 
degree of correctness ; and what is true in both must be com 
bined. That is to say, the ace., teal v^dg ovrag venpovg, K. r. L } 
connects itself with ver. 19, not, indeed, by the grammatical co 
herence of the clauses, but certainly by the connexion of ideas. 
For, beginning with ver. 15, this. was as follows: "I pray God 
that he may give you spiritual gifts of wisdom and revelation, 
the eyes of your heart being enlightened in the knowledge of 
him, to understand how great is the hope of the Divine calling, 
and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and the 
greatness of his power to us-ward who believe." But with the 
words Kara rriv evepyeiav, K. r. A., Paul turns aside from the direct 
address to his readers, and dwells upon what God has done in Christ. 
So for as the power of God in Christ is the measure of the great 
ness of the working of his power upon the faithful (who, according 


to ii. 5, 6, arc partakers in all that God does in Christ), this di- 
gression has, to he sure, nothing heterogeneous in it ; hut still it 
carries us away from the immediate train of ideas. In ii. 1, on 
the other hand, Paul again resumes in its main thread the chain 
of ideas which he had pursued down to i. 19, except that instead 
of the previous r/^a^ he again says vndq, as in i. 13, thus making 
the reference to the Gentile Christians prominent, though ^jueZf 
recurs directly at ver. 5, after the topic touched on in vers. 2, 3 has 
been discussed. If, therefore, ii. 1 is thus connected with i. 19, in the 
main course of thought, we find on the other hand, no rhetorical 
connexion at all with this verse ; hut Paul permits himself to be 
determined by the construction in vers. 20, 23, KCU eadQiae. nal v-ni- 
ra^e nal tduKe (which, in reference to the main course of thought 
form subordinate clauses only), to proceed with the main idea also 
in this form of construction ; we can only, therefore, at KOI vpag, 
K. r. A., supply Qeog, with which OVVE^OTTOLTJOS (ii. 5), as the chief 
verb, is connected. But, as the subject of the principal verb had 
become uncertain, through the subordinate remarks again introduced 
in ii. 2, 3, Paul repeats it (ii. 4), resuming with <Se the thread of his 
discourse, and so does not regularly continue the discourse, which he 
had begun at ii. 1, till ver. 5, when he pursues it down to ii. 7. 

Paul here (ii. 1-5) begins by depicting man in general (ver. 5), 
but primarily (ver. 2) the Gentiles, among whom sin had manifested 
itself in the most startling forms (see Rom. i.), as dead, but after 
wards as quickened and raised up by God together with Christ. At 
the basis of this lies the typical conception of the events of Christ s 
life, which often appears in the New Testament, and especially in 
Paul. (See the remarks on Rom. vi. 1, seq.) There seem accord 
ingly, as has been already observed, to be good reasons for the pre 
ceding digression concerning the person of Christ (i. 20-23). Men 
are of course here called dead through transgressions, inasmuch as 
the higher life of the spirit is vanished ; though alive physically, 
man is dead spiritually, %tiv Ttdvrjite, 1 Tim. v. 6. (The plural d[j,ap~iai 
of course denotes also workings of sin, not, however, sinful acts, so 
definitely as -naparcr^ara, but rather inward sinful movements of the 
soul in desires and words. The article before the two words is to be 
taken : the transgressions, the sin, which you are conscious of having 
committed. In the parallel passage, Col. ii. 13, finally, veKpoi, is 
construed, not with the mere dative, but with tv TrapaTrrw/zcm. Here 
sin is conceived as that which kills, but in the Epistle to the Co- 
lossians as the element in which the deadness of the natural man 
shews itself continually.) 

Ver. 2. After this, Paul, with the words h alg TTOTS TrepieTraTT)- 
oare, K. r. A., in which yc once walked, etc., begins a new digression, 
which describes the state of sinfulness before conversion more accu- 


rately, but at the same time as one that has passed away. This 
state is described by the phrase Treonrarelv, ivalk, as a continued and 
permanent one (see Kom. vi. 4 ; 2 Cor. iv. 2), in opposition to single, 
isolated transgressions, and that, too, as a walking in accordance, not 
with the heavenly world, with the kingdom of God, but with the 
spirit of this world. Both phrases, Koa^iog ov~og : and cuwv ovrog, are 
it is well known, often found in the New Testament dialect, but the 
conjunction of the two phrases, /card rbv al&va rov adofiov rovrov in 
this passage, is singular. We cannot suppose a reference to the 
Gnostic use of the word, for the reason that Paul here characterizes 
no special error, and therefore not the doctrine of the ^Eons ; but 
describes the position of the Gentiles in a way entirely general. 
Riickert s idea, that the pronoun is to be joined with aluv in this 
way, Kara rbv altiva rovrov rov KOO/IOV, can make no claim to be re 
ceived, besides that the combination aluv ovrog rov noofiov is also quite 
unusual. We might, perhaps, however, starting from the generally 
received meaning of al6v, " time," take the phrase in the sense of 
" course of time, tendency of the age," unless, with Harless, accord 
ing to the original meaning of the \vord in Homer and Pindar, vital 
power, we determined more accurately its meaning, as not denoting 
the abstract idea "time" at all, but "movement and development 
in time," which gives us, as its natural sense, " Genius, spirit of the 
age." But what was first expressed impersonally, is now, in what 
follows, conceived personally. As he that lives in accordance with 
the heavenly world, walks " according to God," so he who lives in 
accordance with the aiuv rov noapov rovrov, walks according to the 
devil. But this "accordance" expresses, at the same time, the 
being determined or governed by the devil ; for he knows how to 
lead men in accordance with his wishes through his influence. Paul 
describes, in his peculiar way, the prince of darkness as 
i^ovaiag rov aepof, prince of ilie power of the air. The name 
prince, used of the devil, is, it is true, by no means surprising, and 
particularly in John he is often called so. (John xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. 
11.) But at the outset, the import of rjjg ^ovo iag is obscure ; for 
the genitive cannot, as might at first sight be thought, be taken as 
an apposition, qui est potestas, or cui est potestas, but must express 
the object of the dominion. Neither can we by any means suppose 
a reference to Gnostic false doctrines, as they prevailed among the 
Colossians, because, as hos been already observed in the Introduc 
tion, this epistle is quite free from polemics, nor can it even be shewn 
that t%ovaia was in use as a Gnostic terminus technicus, least of all 
in the age of the apostles. According to Col. i. 13 (tfow/a rov OKO- 
TO?;$-), and Eph. vi. 12, where evil spirits are called Koopogpatopes rov 
ottorovg, world-rulers of darkness, igovaia here is surely nothing more 
than the power of darkness in general, the kingdom of evil spirits con- 


ceived as a unity which Satan governs. But the most obscure of all 
is the second genitive, rov dtoog, of the air, which has much employed 
the interpreters, and has in some cases called forth the most start 
ling views. Tov depog is not to be taken as a predicate of Egovaia, thus 
representing evil spirits as of an airy nature, as Chrysostom, Grotius, 
Cornelius & lapide, Calixtus, and others, have fancied ; the last two 
indeed, adding as a subordinate consideration, that the evil spirits 
caused storms, and other meteoric phenomena disastrous to man. 
Paul considers demons as spiritual beings (vi. 12), not material 
ones, however subtle, which they would be if they were airy beings. 
The genitive, rov depof, denotes not their substantial nature, but the 
region of their sojourn, the place of their activity ; in that all the 
better interpreters are unanimous. We can also at once repudi 
ate the purely figurative or metaphorical acceptation of the phrase, 
as worthy of no further investigation. Thus Calvin and Beza in 
sisted on finding in it a figurative designation of the great danger 
which evil spirits prepared for man, as if, for instance, they hov 
ered in the air over their heads. Thomas Aquinas, Erasmus, and 
others, insisted, on the contrary, on the air being taken metonymi- 
cally, continens pro contento, for the earth itself, surrounded by it. 
The conjecture of Harless is very probable, that the reading of the 
MSS. F.G., of the Vulgate, and of several Fathers, depo$ rovrov, 
rests on that interpretation, which would accordingly be very ancient. 
But the acceptation of the phrase which recommends itself at first 
sight seems to be that which takes drjp as synonymous with OKOTOC } 
darkness. Evil spirits are very commonly represented in biblical 
phraseology as belonging to the element of darkness, and it is like 
wise undoubted that drjp } i. e. } " the lower cloudy region," is used in 
the classics as synonymous with darkness. (See Homer, Iliad, v. 
776, xii. 240, xvii. 645 ; Hesiod, Theog. vv. 119, 252 ; Wisd., xviL 
9.) That the meaning does not occur again in the New Testament 
should not surprise us, as dip occurs altogether only at 1 Thess. iv. 
17 besides. But the use of that meaning for the elucidation of this 
passage is, according to Harless remark, made inadmissible by the 
circumstance that d??p means " darkness" but in a physical sense, 
never in the figurative one " spiritual obscurity," for which onorog 
always stands as the opposite of light. We are thus thrown back 
upon the proper meaning of d^p. But now, that Paul should have 
assigned the atmospherical air as an abode for the evil angels, is both 
striking in itself, and seems to contradict other passages, e. g., Eph. 
vi. 12, where they are described as existing h> rolg e-rrovpaviou;, in the 
heavenly places. The reference to platonizing and gnosticising ideas, 
which place evil spirits in the region of the air, is here inadmissible, 
because those speculations of philosophy could scarcely be known to 
the apostle, and he would not have used them as such even if they 


had been. He had but one source of knowledge, illumination by the 
Holy Ghost. Whatever in his communications coincides with the 
views of other nations, or other schools, Paul has not borrowed from 
the latter, but the rays of truth which are to be found in those 
views appear allied with his doctrine in a manner independent of 
that Divine illumination which filled the apostle. The parallel 
passages which have been quoted from Jewish writers seem of more 
importance, because among the people of Israel, even where the Old 
Testament is silent, opinions may have been transmitted by tradi 
tion even from the age of the prophets, which find a corroboration in 
the New Testament, and especially because Paul had, as a born Jew 
and a scholar of the Rabbis, from his early youth forward, imbibed 
the opinions of Jewish sages, and, as it were, breathed in their spir 
itual atmosphere. But the Holy Spirit filling Paul, enabled him, 
even in his Jewish circle of ideas, to separate with accuracy truth 
and error ; hence he never adopted an idea merely because it was 
of Jewish origin, and had been familiar to him from childhood ; but 
whatever Jewish opinions known to him he retained and made use of, 
he adhered to because the Spirit in him guaranteed them. But now 
we must add that the careful inquiry which Harless (pp. 154-6) 
has instituted into the Rabbinical passages on which the assertion 
that the Jews supposed the evil spirits lived in the air is founded, 
shews them to be far from proving this as a prevailing opinion among 
the people. On the contrary, there appears in this respect such ob 
scurity, confusion, and gross superstition, in the Rabbinical writings, 
that the above-named interpreter justly considers " such quagmires" 
as wholly unadapted to furnish anything for the elucidation of our 
passage. We therefore confine ourselves to Divine revelation, and 
seek to determine the meaning of the words e^ovaia ~ov dfyog by 
the intimations contained in that revelation itself, in the following 
way. According to Job i. 6, Satan, too, appears along with the ^a 
ST ^.V plainly in heaven. In like manner at Eph. vi. 12, compared 
with iii. 10, the angels, good and bad, are represented as to be found 
KV rolg tnovpaviots, which, according to Eph. ii. 6 is equivalent to ev T& 
ovpav& } in heaven. As spiritual beings they are separated from the 
earth, the material world, and assigned to the heavenly world, as the 
spiritual one. If the words are not expressly " in the heaven," th 
cause is to be sought for in the circumstance that " heaven" is not a 
mere description of the spiritual world, but also of the holy and blessed 
region, the abode of God. Still in Luke x. 18 ; Rev. xii. 8, 9, 12, the 
devil is also represented as to be found iv ovpav& } and as not degraded 
to the earth till after his subjugation, though, no doubt, the figura 
tive colouring in these passages is not to be overlooked. Now, if we 
compare the only other passage in the New Testament in which drjp 
occurs, viz., 1 Thess. iv. 17, it appears (see the Comm. on that passage) 


that eig aepa is put there for el? ovpavov, in that the sensible concep 
tion of being " caught up" (dprrd&adai ) is expressed by the phrase 
dq dtpa. In like manner we find in Matth. vi. 26 the phrase ovpavog 
used ; the birds are there called " the birds of heaven," because they 
seem to the view of sense to fly in heaven. Accordingly, we believe 
we are fully justified in understanding a?/p in our passage, not 
of the atmospherical air, but of the higher regions generally, which 
we are wont to call heaven. Paul here chose for the idea that phrase 
instead of Z-ovpaviuv, with the object, perhaps, of characterizing by 
it the powers to which the readers of the epistle had been subject 
before their conversion, as not earthly ones, it is true, but certainly 
not heavenly ones either. 

But, further, the concluding words also of this difficult second 
verse, rov nvevuaroc, K. r. A., require a closer investigation. The sup 
position of Flatt, that rov Trvevuarog stands parallel to Kara rbv dp- 
%ovra, consequently for Kara rb nvevua, according to the Spirit, as 
also the opinion of several of the Fathers, that rov dsoog rov -nvevua- 
rog are to be connected in the sense of irvevperos depiov, need no refu 
tation. Kiickert maintains that Paul has departed from the 
construction ; but that hypothesis is rendered unnecessary by our 
pointing out a proper construction. Such a one arises if we put 
re~- -m-evfiarog as equivalent to rfc %ovaiac, and make both genitives 
depend on Kara rbv ap%ovra. That is to say, while the objective 
power of evil, the kingdom of darkness, is denoted by i^ovoia, 
7Tvevi.ia relates to its subjective side, to the spirit of evil, working in 
the souls of men. This proceeds from the devil and the evil -spirits, 
and has, therefore, the spiritual nature which they themselves bear 
within them ; but of course it is only the created spirit. The effi 
cacy of this evil principle begets in the children of disobedience the 
trespasses and sins of which mention was made in ver. 1. As now, 
in those words, the state of sinners is described altogether generally, 
apart from their relation to redemption, we have no reason to inter 
pret the drceiOeia of unbelief in the gospd ; the expression denotes 
disobedience in general, which is the essence of sin, in whatever form 
it may shew itself. From the vvv we are not to infer that the 
Spirit worked thus in the children of unbelief then only when Paul 
wrote ; on the contrary, it continually works in the very same way ; 
Paul rather means by the vvv to contrast earthly conditions in 
general with the aluv juUwi> of the kingdom of God, and by that 
means to make the working of the devil appear as confined, in con 
tradistinction to the eternal Divine working of the Holy Ghost. 
Meyer s explanation of vvv } " which even now, when the gospel is 
working so powerfully counter to it, still continues to reign in 
the children of unbelief," is justified by nothing in the context. 
On the contrary, the contrast with TTOTK gives the vvv clearly enough 


its reference to the state of man without Christ, i. c., the aluv ovro^ 
(See Col. iii. 7.) 

Ver. 3. While vers. 1 and 2 were addressed to the Gentile 
Christians, Paul in verse 3 makes a transition to the Jewish Chris 
tians, and says the same of them. Before their conversion (rroi-f) they 
too walked among the children of disobedience in the wicked lusts 
of the flesh. In the same way, in the second chapter of Romans, 
the state of the Jews is paralleled with that of the Gentiles de 
scribed in Rom. i. Further, the dvaa-ptyeoOai KV e-idiyiiau; -7$ oapKo^, 
just as the Trepirrarelv Kara of ver. 2, portrays the enduring mode 
(plan, direction) of life in opposition to isolated sinful acts. From 
evil lusts proceeds the accomplishing of the desires of the flesh, 
and of sinful thoughts. Although it is well known that in Paul s 
usual language, as already shewn at Rom. vii. 14, flesh denotes not 
sensuality or fleshly lust alone, but the whole God-averted tendency 
of man and of the V W/j yet Paul ascribes no didvoiai to the odpi;. 
The collocation of the words is therefore very suitably chosen ; T//C 
oapKos could not have stood after Siavoi&v. The 6eXijfj,ara aapnoc; stand 
in relation to the above-mentioned K~i6v/j.iaig as the single actual lusts, 
which are developed according to circumstances from the" state of 
concupiscentia, but didvotai denotes sinful thoughts, which have no 
sensual desire for their basis. As didvoiai here, so in Matth. xv. 19 
dm/loy{(7//.of, but with the addition -ovrjpog, is used of sinful thoughts ; 
but in Luke xi. 17 diavoTjfia by itself denotes wicked thoughts. If 
any one, however, should conclude from this description that all Jew 
ish Christians, and consequently all the apostles likewise, had actually 
committed the grossest carnal sins, he would be greatly mistaken. 
Paul , entirely in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, contemplates 
internal sinful aberrations as already actual sins before God. But 
now at length by the wf KOI ol konroi, which has a retrospective refer 
ence to verse 2, Paul comprises the whole picture of the sinful ness 
of men in the sentence : ty-iev (scil. TTOTK, before our conversion to 
Christ) TKicva tyvaei opyijc, we were by nature children of ivrath, or, as 
Lachrnann after A.D.E.F.G. reads, Qvaei reicva fy>y?/c, but which looks 
more like a correction to facilitate the understanding of the passage, 
than like the original reading. That in these words the expression 
6py?y, put absolutely, is the Divine anger, cannot be doubtful, whether 
by itself, or after the parallel passage Col. iii. 6. But as to the reality 
of that anger we have already at Matth. xviii. 34, 35, John iii. 35. 
36, expressed ourselves at sufficient length. Certainly in God anger 
is no passion (so far as the expression is anthropopathic), but the real 
displeasure of God s holiness at what is evil. Now men as sinners 
are the objects of this divine displeasure, i. e., rtuva fyyfe. For the 
context must determine the soil of dependence which is always ex 
pressed by vto f or TEKVOV. The interpretation of rtnvov by 


which Calvin, Grotius, and other interpreters defend, is not the 
proper meaning of the word, but only a derivative one ; the object of 
the Divine anger is, under all circumstances, such a one as deserves 
punishment. But (pvaei } by nature, is here in a dogmatic point of 
view extremely important for the doctrine of original sin ; that is 
to say, if " we were children of wrath," stood alone, one might think 
that every single person had by his individual fault alone made 
himself the object of the Divine anger, as the Pelagian-rationalistic 
mode of interpretation is wont to maintain. This view of man s 
sinful nature, as produced in every individual by personal guilt, is 
refuted by tyvoei. True, many subtleties have been introduced into 
the interpretation of it (see Harless on this passage, p. 171, seq.) ; 
but (f>vmg cannot, without violence, be understood otherwise than as 
the Latin natura, of what is original, innate, in opposition to what 
has been acquired by practice. True, a thing may by custom be 
come (pvmg, but the habitual always forms a contrast with what is 
v a e t . Now, that Paul does not mean original, innate, to be here 
taken as, created by God, cannot indeed be deduced from this pas 
sage itself; we see from the chief passage (Rom. v. 12, seq.) on 
the doctrine of original sin that Paul derives the sinful nature, 
born in all individuals without exception, from the original sin of 
the founder of the race ; this passage, therefore, receives from that 
leading passage its natural supplement. Accordingly, by the 
dogmatic connexion in the system of Paul, Qvoei obtains here the 
meaning " sinful birth," which it, of course, cannot have of itself, 
and thus forms the antithesis to x,dpin, verse 5. That is to say, the 
being by nature children of wrath rests on the transmission of sin by 
bodily propagation, which has continued from Adam ; what, there 
fore, men are by nature, they are by sinful birth. The most plaus 
ible objection to this interpretation is, that in what preceded 
(dveaTpd(j)r][i,V ev KTnOvfj,iai.g noiovi Teg ra Oefajfiara, K. r. A.) the dis 
course was of the doing of sin, and not of the state of sinfulness, a 
fact apparently inconsistent with the following fyvaei. Thus most of 
the rationalistic interpreters since Grotius. But a somewhat more 
accurate consideration of the context of verse 3, shews clearly that 
this objection to the above interpretation is totally unfounded. For, 
whilst faeig ^ravreg dveoTp&fHjfUV, K. T. A. portrays the actual state of 
sinful walking, and Ttoiovvreg, K. r. A. the bursting forth of it into in 
dividual actual sins, both are pointed out in the concluding words in 
their ultimate foundation, viz., in the inborn sinfulness of each indi 
vidual through his connexion with Adam. It is true this remark 
was not absolutely necessary here; the general train of thought would 
remain uninjured, even if the concluding clause nal ripev Xoinoi were 
wanting ; but Paul appears, according to the judicious remark of 
Harless, to have wished by that means to place in a clear point of 

EPHESIANS II. 4-6. 61 

view the contrast between the state of sin and the callin^ of the 
people of Israel. Paul would not have represented the Jews, as 
God s people standing under the guidance of Jehovah, in the same 
way as the Gentiles are described in verse 2, as being under the 
power of Satan ; yet they walked, as Adam s sinful descendants, in 
like manner after the wicked lusts of the flesh, that is, because they 
were not obedient to the Law and the exhortations to a holy walk 
arising from it. 

Vcr. 4. But the connexion had been made doubtful by this 
long and important digression. Paul could not resume the discourse 
with the accusative from verse 1 alone, since the subject above all 
must have escaped the reader, because it had not been named since 
i. 17 ; he therefore begins with & dt Qeog, adds some clauses to char 
acterize his compassion, and then in ver. 5 again takes up the words 
from ver. 1. While, however, he there said, vfidg, he here writes r ^dg, 
as it had been proved in the exposition in ver. 3 that there is no differ 
ence between Gentiles and Jews, as to their relation to redemption, 
i. e., that they both need it in an equally high degree. The Divine 
love is, however, here represented especially as mercy, because the 
subject is its exhibition to mankind, who have been made miserable 
by sin. But in the aorist ^ydnTjae t ^dg is couched the reference to 
the actualized expression of God s love in Christ as the highest form 
of exhibition of love (John iii. 16). 

Vers. 5, 6. Here now Paul carries out in its separate points of 
view the typical interpretation of the life of Christ, which he had 
already touched on at ii. 1, and for which the representation of our 
Lord s life in i. 19, seq., was to prepare us. As Christ was dead, 
but was made alive by God s power, and awakened and set on God s 
throne, so has God with Christ made alive, awakened, and trans 
ferred to the heavenly world mankind dead through their sins. The 
repetition of itai before the three verbs is explained by the vivacity 
of the picture, and the endeavour to place the climax in the strong 
est light ; but the form of the aorist in all three verbs is striking, 
especially as their substance seems to be as yet future, as shewn 
above all in awenddiae ; for how could it be said of the readers then 
living that God had transplanted them with Christ into the heav 
enly world ? True, it is quite correct to say that, as ov&onoielv, 
quickening together, and avveyeipuv, raising together, are here to 
be understood not of physical awakening from the dead, but of 
quickening the spiritual essence, so too avyK.adi&iv, seating to 
gether, denotes but figuratively the inner heavenly consciousness of 
believers, not a local raising into heaven ; and, accordingly,^ the 
Protestant interpreters maintain that everything here named is to 
be looked on as already actually wrought in the readers of the epistle. 
But Paul s intention is clearly not to represent these parallels with 

62 EPHESIANS II. 5, 6. 

the events of Christ s life as realized only in the first readers of the 
epistle, but to designate them as also valid for all who should in 
future believe in Christ. According to that, then, it must, at all 
events, be granted that Paul, in the style of prophetic representa 
tion, describes the future as already realized. But even ibis does 
not exhaust Paul s idea. If we compare Kom. viii. 30 (see the 
Comm. on that passage), it is clear that he conceives at once as com 
pleted in the work of Christ, according to his word rere^earai, all 
that which is gradually realized in men s hearts in the progressive 
development of the world s history. What happened to him, as the 
second Adam, the representative of the race, has actually once for 
all happened for the benefit of all. The above statement, that 
Christ s life is typically conceived by Paul, is therefore not to be 
understood either, as implying that independently of Christ and his 
person, is formed analogously to his fortunes, by express Divine 
ordinance, the development in believers. Eather, Christ is the 
real type for every form of life among the saints unto the end, so 
that their life is only the development of what has been already 
given in the germ in him, and been transplanted out of him into 
their nature. The supplying of an iv before TOJ Xptarw, which is 
found in some MSS., is therefore totally unsuitable ; the dative 
depends on ovv in the compound verbs, and is to be understood en 
tirely in its own meaning, since Christ, as the universal man, bore 
all men in him, and completed all in himself. The parallel passage 
in Col. ii. 13, in which ovv is expressly repeated, also favours this 
construction. The only thing surprising in this interpretation is, 
that at the end of ver. 6 kv Xptcrrw Irjaov occurs, and the KV is 
there genuine beyond a doubt. But that addition would seem per 
haps only to serve to shew that ovyica8ieiv is here used as already 
remarked, in a figurative sense. But in saying that, we do not 
say that believers will not actually share in Christ s sitting in 
heaven on God s throne ; it is asserted at Kev. iii. 21, in the 
strongest terms, and it also follows from the nature of the case, that 
what is of a heavenly nature belongs to the heavenly world. But in 
this passage the figurative av&o-oielv and owe.yeipeiv shows a refer 
ence merely to the inner world, and the arousing of the heavenly 
consciousness, whereas elsewhere Christ s bodily resurrection, and 
whatever is connected with it, is ulso treated as a real type of ours. 
The distinction between av&o-oiuv and oweyeipsiv deserves also 
to be more closely investigated. Allhough the two, as we said, 
can here be taken only figuratively, yet they are borrowed from 
the process of physical resurrection, arid must, therefore, Irive in 
it their signification. Now, in Liu prophetic description (Ezck. 
xxxvii.) there is also a plain dis Iiuiioii drawn between a nu ving, a 
becoming alive, of the dead bon . i.i.l an actual resurrecti m ; the 


same distinction is pointed to in Matth. xxvii. 52, 53, according to 
which passage the bodies of the saints move indeed simultaneously 
with Christ s death, but do not awake and go forth from the graves 
till after his resurrection. Although, therefore, the resurrection itself 
is an act, it yet presupposes in the process of the gradual quickening 
fao-otelv, its successively advancing preparation. In the midst of 
the discussion, there appears in ver. 5 the parenthetical ejaculation 
%dpiri tare aeaioafiwoi, by which Paul lays the great thought, which 
filled his life, on the hearts of his readers, viz., that neither works, 
nor any merit whatever, but God s undeserved grace, is the sole 
ground of our salvation, which is further carried out in ver. 8. In 
the parallel passage too (Col. ii. 13) this idea attaches itself to the 
ovvefyonohiae, in the words xapiodfisvoc; ijfuv -ndvra rd Tropa-rw/iara.. 
(At the addition in ver. 5, %,dpi-i ears aeauoi.iKvoi, various readings are 
found ; particularly, D.E.F.G. read ov -y xdpiri, inferior critical 
authorities also add yap or 6s. But all these readings owe their 
origin to the copyists misunderstanding the nature of the short ex 
clamation arising from the excited feelings of Paul, and supposing 
they must somehow bring it into grammatical connection, princi 
pally with reference to ver. 8. On KV rolq $noMMvioi$ } see at Eph. 
i. 3.) 

Ver. 7. At length Paul closes this long collection of proposi 
tions, reaching from i. 15 to this verse, with the idea that it was 
God s intention, by the work of Christ, to make known the abundant 
riches of his goodness ; just as was expressed in i. G, xii. 14, dg 
K~aivov do^fjg rf/f %dpi~o(; avrov } to the praise of the glory of his grace, 
as the ultimate object of the whole creation, and of all its forms. 
This manifestation of the richness of the Divine grace, however, Paul 
places KV rolg al&ai roig KTIKP^OUKVOK;. The participle tTrep^o^srov, 
quod imminet, instat (Luke xxi. 26 ; James v. 1), is found united 
with aiojv nowhere else in the New Testament. Apart from the 
context, altivec; trrepxonevoi could mean only " the coming genera 
tions," in opposition to the living one, to which Paul addressed his 
epistle. But it has been -already remarked on vers. 5, 6, that Paul 
there had already in mind those also who should live later ; he would 
have Christ s benefits referred not merely to the one generation then 
living, but to all the races of man. Therefore ol aitiveg -epx6nevoi 
can only be taken as = the usual term aluv jtuvUwv, so that the sense 
of the 7th verse is this : " that God in the future order of things, i. e., 
in the kingdom of God (in which the glory of the faithful, which is 
hidden here below, will be made visible to all), may manifest the 
overwhelming richness of his grace." The concluding words of ver. 7, 
KV xprjrj-orrjTi t</> 7]it,dg iv Xptaroi Iqaov, determine more exactly the 
more general word %dptg ; to connect tf, it. -. /I., with v-epftd^ovTa is 
unsuitable, because the participle belongs quite objectively to TrAoOro?. 

64 EPHESIANS II. 8-10. 

(The neuter form of TT^CVTO^ is with Lachmann and Harless, on the 
authority of MSS. A.B.D.F.G., to be preferred as the rarer one, 
here, as at Epli. iii. 8, 1G ; Phil. iv. 19 ; Col. ii. 2.) 

Vers. 8, 9. The greatness of the Divine goodness in the work of 
redemption Paul finds especially in this circumstance, that the 0w- 
TTjpia is solely effected (as causa efficiens) through the grace of God 
(see ver. 5), and on the part of man only faith is required (as the 
conditio sine qua non); thereby redemption appears as the sole work 
of God, to whom alone therefore all praise for it belongs. The 
idea at first positively expressed is again repeated negatively, in order 
to impress it the more emphatically, OVK tf V[JMV, OVK t-| epywv sc. tore 
aeouaj-ievoi. Since, therefore, here every work, and consequently 
every merit on the part of man, is excluded, faith (mang) itself too 
is denied rneritoriousness : faith too, like everything good in man, 
is a gift of God, that all self-glorifying may ever be annihilated, and 
all glory be preserved unto God. (See the details on %dpic } ma~i<;, 
Ipya, at Eom. iii. 21 ; 2 Cor. iii. 5.) 

Yer. 10. Now, that everything in the path of salvation is thus 
referred to God s working, which man on his part has only to accept 
with faith, is based on the nature of the process of regeneration. It 
is like a new creation ; the regenerate are God s Tro^a, ic-io^a, 
KTioig (see at 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Gal. vi. 15), created in Christ Jesus. 
The iv is again not to be taken as = through, but to be understood 
as in vers. 5, 6 : Christ, as the representative of the race, bears in 
himself all who are his in the faith. But the aim of this inner Di 
vine creation is more closely determined by e TT I epyoig dyadols, i. e., 
unto good works, that they may bring forth good works. However 
little, therefore, salvation proceeds from works, it does not, for all 
that, exclude good works, i. e., works which proceed from a heart in 
which dwells faith active through love (see Gal. v. 6); on the con 
trary, the fruits of faith are supposed to proceed from the new birth, 
as inevitable consequences. God wills that we should walk in 
those fruits, by which again, as vers. 2, 3, the permanent being and 
living in good works is to be understood, because faith and love 
afford an inexhaustible source for them. The only difficulty in ver. 
10 is the construction of olg Trporjroifiaaev 6 Qeog, K. r. A. The question 
is whether ol$ is here to be taken as a strict dative : "for which God 
has prepared us/ or as by attraction for a, in the sense : " which 
God has prepared that we might walk in them." Against the first 
interpretation it might be urged that it is unsuitable to represent the 
persons as prepared/or the works, since, on the contrary, the latter 
depend on the former. And in that case we necessarily expect -fjpdg 
after TrpoT/rotjuaaev. Against the second, for which we decide, might 
in like manner be urged the incongruity of God s having prepared 
the works, while these are surely deeds of man. But the prepa- 


ration is not to be understood as excluding man s free-will, "but 
only as implying that the circumstances and conditions, under which 
it "becomes possible for men to accomplish good works, are ordered 
by God. (UpoK-oiftd&iv [see Horn. ix. 23] differs from rrpoopi&iv and 
nporMvai only by .pointing to a working of the Divine eternal will 
which relates more to details.) 

(ii. 11 iii. 21.) 

To this description of the grace of God in Christ Paul in what 
follows annexes very fitly a reminiscence of the former abandoned 
condition of his readers. In order to attain to a full appreciation of 
the greatness of God s benefits in Christ; man must remember his 
condition when he was without them. Now, when Paul said 
that they had once been heathens, he said everything to desig 
nate the wretchedness and spiritual desolation of his readers. 
(This ~O-K forms, as in vers~2, 3, an antithesis with wvi in ver. 13, 
and contrasts the time before their conversion with that after it.) 
That is to say, the. name Sdvij, answering to the Hebrew ay.a, de 
notes, both in the Old and the New Testament dialects, the idea of 
utter estrangement from God, and blindness. The more strongly to 
mark the contemptuousness of the expression, Paul further adds, in 
a parenthetical clause, ol Xeyopsvoi dupofivo-ia VTTO rrjg hey 
rofiiis, who are called uncircumcision, etc. (See as to 
and Trcpf-op/, abstracts used for the concretes aKpofivoroi and 
Tot, the Comm. on Rom. ii. 26, iii. 30, iv. 9, 10.) But it is a ques 
tion how, in ver. 11, the additions of KV oa^ni to ra tQvr\ and iv oapul 
XeipoTToiTj-ov to TTspironrj^ are to be understood. The latter might 
produce the impression that bodily circumcision, as such, is meant 
to be undervalued in comparison with the spiritual one (see on 
Horn. ii. 28, 29); but this the whole context forbids. For Paul 
means to shew that the Gentiles were really inferior compared 
with the Jews, as ver. 2 shews ; but the latter had received the 
circumcision in the flesh (tv aapd} as a Divine institution, which 
was to distinguish them from the Gentiles ; he cannot, therefore, 
possibly mean to undervalue that. Nevertheless, the words vnb 
T7]$ /UyojutV^- TrepiToiirjg tv vapid ^etpo^oiTJ-ov unmistakably bear a 
colour of blame, but which is not to be referred to the symbol of cir 
cumcision in itself, but to the want of honesty of the Jews, in not 
suffering themselves to be led by the outward symbol ordained by 
God to that moral purification which it was to typify. Accordingly, 
the words included in parentheses are to be thus paraphrased : * Ye, 
VOL. V. 5 


who are called imcircumcisedby the so-called circumcision performed 
in the flesh, which, however, merely as such (i. e., without, along 
with the outward circumcision, being also circumcised in the heart), 
has certainly no right to look down contemptuously on you." Ac 
cordingly then it also follows that the phrase -rd IQvi] iv oapri does 
not form, as might be thought, an antithesis with rd gOvr) iv -rrvev- 
pa-i, to designate better and worse, noble-minded and ignoble- 
minded, Gentiles ; but that t-v crap/a denotes the want (common to 
all Gentiles without exception) of a symbol of the covenant in the 
flesh ; then, too, the reference of the passage to the Gentiles as such, 
explains the article before ZOvrj. 

Ver. 12. To this is annexed a more accurate description of 
the state of the Gentiles. Paul considers, in his far reaching and 
noble style of conception, his immediate readers as the representa 
tives of Gentilism, and of the Gentile age of the world in general ; 
therefore the following picture, with which Col. i. 21 ; Eph. iv. 18, 
19, are to be united also, is a representation of- heathenism in 
all ages and in all its forms. It is always %(*>plg Xpiarov, without 
Christ, and therefore ^wpt? ourqptae, without salvation. Here Irjaov 
or Irjoov Xpiarov, could not have stood, as might be thought, for 
the Jews too were without Jesus ; Xptc~6g denotes the Messiah 
ideally, of whose manifestation the Jews had received the prophe 
cies ; which indeed are described in what immediately follows as 
wanting to the Gentiles. But the phrase x^pig Xpia-ov is in so far 
significant as the prophecies among the Jews are not to be viewed 
as mere abstract assurances of something future, but as real prom r 
ises, in and with which the germ of what was promised was al 
ready present in the people. Christ already dwelt, as the eternal 
word of the Father, in the people of Israel by an imdijfiia vovrr], 
before the K-idrjuia alad /irri, which commenced with Jesus becoming 
man. This indwelling of Christ in Israel in his Godhead was want 
ing in heathenism ; hence its infinite distance, even in its noblest 
forms, from what the people of God included. This state of aban 
donment by God is more accurately designated by the dnri^o- 
rpiufiKVOi rijg Tro/Uretaf rov lopaijh, K. r. A., being aliens, etc., to 
which the parallel passage Col. i. 21 further adds KOL t^dpol ry diavoia 
(=: iv TGJ veil] iv roZf Zpyoig -ol$ irovTjpolg, and enemies in your mind 
ly wicked works, that is, living in works known to be evil, and 
thereby standing in spiritual enmity against God. God s .people 
had a peculiar, politico-religious constitution, ordained by God, 
which was a prefiguration of the " kingdom of God/ This regu 
lated state of the theocracy, which must have powerfully promoted 
the development of the life of faith, is here designated by the word 
TTokireia, which we became acquainted with in Acts xxii. 28, in the 
sense of citizenship, civitas Rom ana. Now, as Paul denies the 


Gentiles any participation in this -rroXireia rov I<rpa?jA, he denies 
indeed their right of citizenship in it, which belonged to every 
Jew by birth alone ; yet in its connexion with rov Icrpar/A we can 
not here ascribe to the word exactly the meaning of right of citizen 
ship." (See Harless remarks on this passage.) But in the word dnri^- 
XorpiMfisvoi seems to be couched not merely that the Gentiles have 
no part in the kingdom of Israel, but that the participation in it was 
taken from them. This is undoubtedly involved in the form of the 
word, yet not that they had previously had a share in the king 
dom of God, and had lost it, but that God, by the restriction of 
his special gracious influences to Israel, had expressly excluded the 
Gentile world, but only in order first to give intensity to the fire by 
concentration in one place, and then to diffuse it over all the na 
tions of the earth. ( A-TaAAorptow is found elsewhere in the New 
Testament only at Eph. iv. 18 ; Col. i. 21. Joseplms often uses it. 
It is also found in Sirach xi. 34 ; 3 Mace. i. 3, as also in the LXX. 
for i!it, Ps. Ivii. 3, and 152, Job xxi. 29 ; Jerem. xix. 4. The clause 
t-evoi rtiv diaOrjiMv rift tTrayyeAtaf, which some inconsiderable MSS. 
endeavoured to render easier by the corrections rtiv en-ayyeAtwv r/fc 
dtaOiJKrjc or rrjg emzyysAta^ rtiv diaOrjic&v, is to be viewed as a further 
exegesis of the %(^pi^ Xpiarov. It would seem, in fact, to have 
been sufficient to say : gevoi TTJS t-TrayyeAm^, i. e., far from the prom 
ise of the Messiah, which composed the central point of all the pro 
phecies of the Old Testament ; for the attempted connexion of r^ 
t-TrayyeAtaf with tATu&z p) fyovreg is inadmissible, as it would require 
the collocation rfjv ri)q tTrayyeAtaf tA^/da. However, the plural -&v 
diadrjKtiv could occasion difficulty only if taken for the Old and New 
Testaments ; but, according to Rom. ix..4, by that word are under 
stood the covenants of God with the fathers of the Jewish people, a 
view favoured by the passages Wisdom of Solomon xviii. 22, Sirach 
xliv. 11 ; 2 Mace. viii. 15. Those covenants are here called dtaOrjKal 
T?"/f tTrayyeAta^ because the promise of the Messiah was the support 
of those covenants. At such a distance from the Divine institu 
tions the Gentiles are therefore fanida p) K%OVTSC, i. e., not only with 
out the hope of the Messiah, but in general wanting all real hope, 
and therefore also dOeoi, i. e., Godless, without actual connexion with 
the living God. The addition KV rw /co<7/tw, i. e., in this wicked world, 
gives a point to the idea, inasmuch as it is to be paraphrased by : 
" in this wicked world, in which one has such urgent need of a sure 
hope, of a firm hold on the living God." This declaration of Paul 
might seem in contradiction to Bom. i, 19, to the heathens is 
ascribed TQ yvuorbv rov Qeov } and to the historical fact, that individual 
heathens elevated themselves above superstition to a purer knowl 
edge of God ; but such is not the case. True, we must not try to 
solve the apparent contradiction by saying that Paul here speaks 

68 EPHESIANS II. 13-15. 

merely of those Gentiles strictly living in spiritual blindness ; 
but that single individuals who arrived at a purer knowledge of 
God, as Socrates, Plato, and others, had properly ceased to be hea 
thens ; for we have remarked already at the phrase rd ZOvr] KV capai, 
that we are not to distinguish them by a suppressed antithesis from 
TO, iOvr] iv Trvevf-ian. Paul speaks of the whole of the Gentile world, 
i. e., of all mankind except the Jews ; he divides the human race 
into Israel and non-Israel. Rather, we can solve the apparent con 
tradiction in this way only. No natural knowledge of God, such as 
we meet in non-Jewish thinkers and sages, valuable as it may be 
considered in itself, can be compared with the knowledge of God 
which was spread in the bosom of God s people ; for it was not 
the result of true Divine enlightenment and of God s spiritual com 
munication of himself, but the product of mere reflection on the 
existence of the distant Deity, from -the contemplation of nature, 
and from conscience. But God can there alone be truly understood, 
where he communicates himself beforehand to him who knows him. 
Qvdelg tfyvw/ce rbv Qebv, KaOug del yv&vai, el p) bg tyi Morai vrf avrov. 
(Compare on 1 Cor, viii. 3.) The Gentile knowledge of God, so far 
as it deserves that name, could not therefore but exhibit itself as 
rather negative and formal than positive, and the knowledge of 
Socrates, that he knew nothing, is an adequate expression for it. 
But the less the Jews used their great privileges as they ought, the 
more guilty they became before God, and the more did those hea 
thens put- them to the blush, who in their godless state, with their 
weak light, were more faithful than the Jews with their clear blaze 
of revelation. 

Ver. 13. To the description of the Gentile estrangement from. 
God is then further annexed the picture of the state of the con 
verted. In it all live in Christ Jesus, i. e., in communion with Jesus 
of Nazareth, in whom the idea of the Messiah was realized. Paul 
here expresses the altered state of the Gentile world by tyyiJf t-yev?/- 
07?T, ye became niyli : in opposition to the preceding distance (tianpav 
elvai). This is only a resumption of the previous dnakko-piovoOai TTJS 
TToktTeiag rov Icpafa. In God s people God was present in the She- 
chinah of the temple, the Jews were therefore near him ; the Gen 
tiles, on the contrary, were far from him, inasmuch as they were 
not allowed to approach the temple. (See on vers. 17, 18.) The 
act of coming near, and consequently the state of being in Christ, 
is represented finally, as effected in the blood of Christ (t v rw 
alfia-i rov Xpiorov ). The shedding of his blood, and the atonement 
earned thereby, ended the separation among mankind, which God 
had ordained till the completion of Christ s work, and enabled the 
Gentiles to unite themselves to the community of Christ just as im 
mediately as was allowed to the Jews. (Cf. ii. 18.) 

EPHESIANS II. 14, 15. 69 

Yers. 14, 15.- -Such an effect Christ produces by his nature ; lie 
himself is our peace. In that idea there is couched not merely that 
Christ institutes peace, that he is the Peace-maker, but that he him 
self, in his essence, is peace, and that he alone has peace who lives 
in him and his element. Where discords dwells inwardly, there out 
wardly, too, peace is only mock peace. Thus Christ is called^ even 
in Isaiah ix. 6, prince of peace (o -& nt ; up%uv elprjvrjg). Therefore in 
the name " our peace," jj^elg implies not the Jews alone ; Paul here 
speaks from the point of view of the whole human race, in which 
all distinctions are levelled. (See on Gal. iii. 28.) Christ manifests 
himself as our peace both inwardly and outwardly ; Paul, no doubt, 
on account of the special need of his first readers, dwells especially 
on the external features of the reconciliation. Christ abolishes the 
division of mankind into Jews and non-Jews,he makes both halves one. 
The neuter, rd d^orepa, Paul himself (vers. 15, 16) interprets by rovg 
dvo, rovg dju0orepoi;, i. e., Jews and non- Jews. Both form a unity in 
their relation to Christ (John x. 16), one flock under one shepherd. 
This uniting efficiency of Christ is still more closely described by Paul 
in the explanatory words : icai Avoag rb {iea6roi%ov rov (j)pay^ov } and 
breaking down the middle ivall of partition. This middle wall of 
partition is further explained by the T?JV lyfipav, the enmity, and the 
whole train of thought is more accurately determined by the final 
words " in his own flesh doing away the law of commands in ordi 
nances" (KV ry aaoul avrov rbv voinov r&v tvroX&v iv doyiiaol Karapyi]- 
oag). True, it has been proposed to connect rip t}(dpav iv ry oaptd 
avrov, and even Lachmann hasaccepted that punctuation ; but this 
mode of taking the context yields no- fitting sense ; for the interpre 
tation of Bugenhagen, Schulthess, and others, who explain ZxPpa 
KV rrj oaprd avrov , " enmity in his people, in the corporeal relatives of 
Christ" (as crapf is used Eoni. xi. 14), sufficiently refutes itself. It is 
only in the above given connexion of the words that the writer s ex 
position proceeds step by step elucidating itself. Now, first bf all, 
as to the form of the phrase AVEIV rb [iev6roi,%ov rov Qpaynov, it is 
clear that Xveiv here, as at John ii. 19, has the meaning of "to 
dissolve, destroy, and therefore remove." Meadro^ov, paries inter- 
gerinus or intermedius, denotes a party- wall, a partition-wall ; Pha- 
vorinus interprets it rb did^pay^a. It is very rare in profane writers, 
yet Athenseus has it, Lib. vii. p. 281. Ed. Casaubon. The combi 
nation peaoroixov rov ^payfiov Is meant, however, to render the barrier 
prominent, as the means of separation, "the barrier which forms 
and is meant to form the hedge, the separating medium." This 
phrase points, of course, immediately to the law, which produced the 
separation between those who were under theocratic government and 
those who were not under it, by expressly declaring the Gentiles 
unclean, and forbidding all communication with them on the part 

70 EPHESIANS II. 14, 15. 

of the Jews. In the Rabbis, therefore, the law is called a;o or NS;S, 
sepes, sepimentum, and the Masoreh again rn>)p^ vs. (See Buxtorf, 
lex. talm. p. 1447.) The investigations as to what sort of barrier Paul 
meant, seem idle ; if, however, it is to be supposed that he, in using 
the universally intelligible figure, had something special in his mind, 
it is most reasonable to understand the wall which divided the fore 
court of the Gentiles from the precincts of the inner temple, and thus 
was a symbol of their separation from the covenants of promise. The 
presupposed reference of the IIEOOTOIXOV rov $payp,ov to the law, seems, 
however, to have a doubt cast on it by the epexegetic rf/v fyOpav. 
Erasmus, Cornelius a Lapide, and Riickert understand it rather 
of the reciprocal enmity between Jews and Gentiles. But if Tijv 
x,6pav were different from jtieaoro^ov, nai would not be wanting ; 
if it is to explain the previous phrase, the idea, "the party-wall is 
enmity," seems unfitting ; the enmity may well be a consequence of 
the separating medium, but not the separating medium itself. Be 
sides, Paul himself surely gives the explanation immediately by the 
following, " abolishing the law of commands," which stands exactly 
parallel to the fteofrrotxov kvoac. The t^flpa can and must be here taken 
as an effect of the law. But the question is, as what effect ? Chry- 
sostom, Theophylact, and (Ecumenius, to whom Harles s has given 
in his adhesion, understand by the %0pa the enmity of the Jews 
and Gentiles together against God, which arises through the opera 
tion of the law, in that it makes sin abound. (Rom. v. 20, vii. 
13, viii. 3 ; Gal. iii. 10.) The last-named interpreter defends this 
acceptation by laying emphasis on the KOI d-n-o/caraA/la^ ra> 6eo5, and 
reconciled to God, which follows in ver. 1C, and which he under 
stands of inward reconciliation through Christ, and therefore of the 
abolishment of guilt and enmity against God, in opposition to the 
merely outward union of Jews and Gentiles. According to this, as 
Haiiess interprets the passage, the two members of the clause 
expressive of purpose correspond to the two members of the prin 
cipal sentence ; that is to say, the first member of the subordi 
nate sentence, lva } down to dprjvrjv, to the first member of the 
principal sentence, 6 -rroi /joag down to v, and the second member of 
the subordinate sentence, KOI aTTOKa-aXXd^ij down to iv avr&, to the 
second member of the principal sentence, /cat TO p,ea6Totx,ov down to 
Karapy? joac. Thus, then, Paul spoke not merely of the amalgama 
tion of the Jews and Gentiles into one, through Christ, but also of 
the abolishment of the enmity of the sinful world against God 
through the atonement. But the twofold subject, which this in 
terpretation supposes, is not found in Paul s discussion. The d-rro- 
KaraAAaoaeiv (ver. 16) is, by the addition rovg d^orepovc; iv &vl aoj- 
fm, referred to the relation between Jews and Gentiles, just as the 
preceding KTL&IV TOV<; &vo. In vers. 17-22 we see most clearly that 

EPHESIANS II. 14, 15. 71 

this relation continues the chief subject of the epistle in what fol 
lows, just as, from vers. 11-15, it forms the central point of the ar 
gument. We find, therefore, no justification for introducing aloiv 
with this idea, which forms the basis of the whole exposition from 
ver. 11 to ver. 22, another idea in vers. 15, 16 merely, and that, too, 
the entirely general one, that God has reconciled both Gentiles ;i:ul 
Jews with himself through Christ. This idea must have seemed to 
Paul the more completely superfluous here, that he had already 
treated of it in chap. i. Bat it is here inappropriate also, inasmuch 
as rendering prominent the inward reconciliation along with the 
outward amalgamation of Jews and Gentiles must have excited the 
notion that the latter was merely an outward one, that it was sepa 
rated from the spirtual atoning work of Christ. But such is not 
Paul s meaning ; rather, Christ, inasmuch as he is the Reconciler 
of man to God, and therefore their peace, is also in and by those 
very relations the abolisher of the separation between Gentiles and 
Jews. Paul, therefore, could not think for a moment of placing 
the inward reconciliation side by side with the outward amal 
gamation, because to him the amalgamation is no mere outward 
one. To this is still added this further fact, that nowhere is it said, 
either in Paul or in the whole New Testament, that " the effect of 
the law is enmity against God." Certainly it is said that " it works 
wrath or a curse," but never " enmity." Finally, on the assumption 
that rrjv K%6pav denotes the enmity of both, of the Jews and of the 
Gentiles, against God, we must also assume that Paul, in speaking 
of the law, thought of the law of the Gentiles also, written in their 
hearts. But the subsequent language does not at all accord with 
this view, and no passage can be found in the whole New Testament 
which declares this law, too, of the conscience, to work wrath or a 

If, therefore, we must reject the reference of the enmity to the 
enmity of both, Jews and Gentiles, against God, nothing remains 
but, with most interpreters, to refer it to the object spoken of both 
before and after in these verses, to the relation of the law to those 
under the theocracy and those not. The bitter enmity between 
the two was the result of the law, the separating hedge. As, 
therefore, the latter was through Christ and the completion of 
his work taken away, so was the reciprocal enmity of the Jews and 
Gentiles taken away, objectively immediately, sufy ect&ety so far as 
they receive Christ in faith ; Christ was their peace in this rela 
tion also. Thus we rigorously maintain the closest connexion of this 
whole passage ; that is to say, the following " in his flesh/ etc., now 
describes the action of the Meiv more accurately, and interprets 
for us authentically the " middle wall of partition," which caused 
enmity between Jews and Gentiles. And such an interpretation was 

72 EPHESIANS II. 14, 15. 

necessary, because those words might have been misunderstood. 
For this breaking down the middle wall, etc., might seem, from its 
relation to the law, to stand in antagonism with the declarations 
of the Lord at Matth. v. 17, 18, where the abolition of the law is ex 
pressly disavowed. Paul cannot intend to utter the antinomian error 
that Christ had abolished (narapyijaa^ the law in general, both in its 
moral and ceremonial parts, in every relation ; but only that the law 
had obtained through Christ a totally different position, and so far 
was made inoperative in a certain relation. This relation, which 
through Christ is changed in reference to the law, Paul designates 
by the phrase vofiog ruv IVTOA&V, law of commandments, and the ad 
dition KV doyiiaoi, in ordinances. The word " commandment" (KV- 
ro/by), denotes the expression of the law (vofiog) for the individual 
case ; thus the unity of the law comprises a multitude of tvrohai. 
It cannot be supposed that the ceremonial ordinances alone are here 
so called ; the moral commandments of the vopoc are also to be taken 
as Kv-ohai : but Paul names the law here " the law of command 
ments," in order to contrast it in the dividedness of its precepts 
with the oneness of the spirit (KV hi Trvev^an, ver. 18), which reigns 
in the gospel. While the law says, do this, do that, do not this, do 
not that, the gospel has but the one commandment of love, and even 
that not in the form of a commandment, but as an influence of grace. 
Certainly this holds good also of the law of the Gentiles written in 
their hearts. This, too, declares itself in a multitude of separate 
exhortations and warnings ; but we need not mention that 6 vo/iog 
~uv t-vroAwv, the laiv of commandments, cannot possibly be referred 
to this inner law also. If it were still doubtful, the KV doyfutai, in 
ordinances, which follows would, at all events, make the reference to 
the universal moral law impossible. 

But certainly the interpretation of this expression again is very 
uncertain. True, the reference of doypara to Christian doctrines, 
which, besides the Fathers, Chrysostom, Theodoret, (Ecumenius, 
also Grotius, Bengel, Fritzsche, Winer,* and others, defend, seems 
inadmissible, because doy^a elsewhere occurs in the New Testament 
only in the sense of " imperial decree, edict," as Luke ii. 1 ; Acts 
xvii. 7 ; in the Scptuagint, Daniel ii. 15. Nor is the meaning 
" dogma, Christian doctrine," found in the earliest Fathers. We 
may suppose it was first formed when philosophers entered the 
Christian church, and transferred to Christ their own custom of 
calling the doctrines of the philosophers doy^ara. Still, this is not 
decisive against such an acceptation of the word in this passage ; 
for, even if it does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament in tho 
meaning " dogma," it might have it here and in Col. ii. 14, as it 

* "Winer has proposed this view in the third edition of his Grammar, but has given it 
up in the fourth (p. 196, seq.) 


was used of the doctrines of philosophical schools. But here this 
meaning neither suits the context, nor harmonizes in its sentiment 
with the doctrine elsewhere taught by the sacred writers. We no 
where rind it taught in the New Testament that Christ ly his precepts 
made the law of no effect ; it is constantly said, by Ms death, l>y Jus 
blood. So also here KV ry oapnl avrov, in his own flesh, is to be con 
nected with Karapyijaas, doing away, so as to express the means by 
which Christ works the abrogation of the law ; it denotes the offer 
ing up of his flesh, and therefore = t-v rw ai^an avrov, in his blood 
(ver. 13), or dta rov oravpov, by his cross (ver. 16). But further, it 
is impossible to discover how KV doypaoi could be so connected with 
KaTopyTfoaf, that it should mean " He made the law of no effect 
through his doctrines." Such a sentiment would certainly have re 
quired KV rolg doyuaatv avrov. Therefore other interpreters, particu 
larly Ambrose, Calvin, Beza, Calovius, Wolf, Michaelis, Storr, and, 
among the later ones, Koppe, Flatt, Theile, Riickert join KV 66y- 
fj,aat with rbv vouov r&v t-vro/Lwv, which precedes. But "Winer (Gr., 
p. 196, seq.) and Harless have correctly observed, in opposition to 
that view, that it would require the repetition of the article. Were 
KV doyftaai meant to determine more exactly the vopog, it must have 
been rbv v Soyuaai ; if to determine the tvroAwv it should have 
been r&v tv doypaai. Besides, we cannot thus well avoid tautology ; 
"the law of the commandments in ordinances" says idem per idem. 
Nothing remains, therefore, but, with Harless (in favour of whose 
interpretation Winer, too, declares, ubi supra) to join, indeed, iv 
doypaoi with Karapyrjaag, but not to refer it to Christian precepts, 
but to the form of command in which the law of the Old Testament 
appears ; and to consider that form as the part of the law abolished 
by Christ, so that the sense of the .words is this : " Christ has, by 
offering up his flesh, made the law, which declared itself in a multi 
tude of precepts, inoperative in relation to the commanding form 
of its ordinances, and gained for man in lieu of it the one spirit of 

Ver. 16. To the above is further annexed the description of the 
design of the Lord in his abolishment of the separating hedge of the 
law, which divided mankind among themselves into Israel and non- 
Israel, into God s people and not God s people, into man and wife. 
(For, as under the Neiv Testament Christ has a relation [to the 
church] as the man to the wife [see v. 23, seq.], so is, under the Old 
Testament, Israel as the man related to the heathen world as to the 

* Winer, in the 6th edition of his Grammar ( 31, Anm.) unites iv 66-y/taaiv with <h> 
TO?.WV, and regards them as forming one conception " commandments in (special) ordi 
nances." He thus withdraws his objection based on the absence of the article (TUV iv 
(Joy.), and refers to 20, 2, where he has accumulated many analogous examples of its 
omission. [K. 


wife.) But tva admits of no immediate connexion with the chief 
verb of the previous sentence, avrbg yap KOTLV i\ dprjvr) r}fiCJv,for he 
himself is our peace, for in it Christ s essence is described, not his 
working ; the particle of intention connects itself with the parallel 
participles notr/aac, hvoac, Karapyrpag. The description of Christ as 
personally our peace, is again resumed in the -noi&v elptfvijv, for which 
TToujoag could not here stand ; for which reason also the elp^voTroirjaag 
did rov a^iaroc rov oravpov avrov, Col. i. 20, stands parallel in thought, 
it is true, but not in language, with this passage. The two national 
masses, Jews and non-Jews, are, however, represented as greater in 
dividuals ; thence rovg 6vo, rovg d^orepovg. Indeed, those united 
through Christ, who in ver. 14 were represented as tv = tvor^, are 
here called elg tcaivbg dvOpwog, one new man. As, therefore, the 
separate individuals in the nation coalesce into a higher personality, 
so do nations in the totality of the race, coalesce into one man ; of 
that isolating view of mankind which regards it as forming a sum 
of absolutely separate individualities, merely aggregated, placed be 
side one another, and each standing and falling by itself the Scrip 
tures know nothing. Humanity is in Christ a living unity, rilled and 
borne by one Spirit. (See at Gal. iii. 21, 28.) However, the phrase 
KTI&IV KV tavT& elg, K. r. A., create in himself, etc., shews that Paul 
does not use " one new man" as a mere personification. According 
to the phrase K-toOevreg iv Xpiarw Irjaov, created in Christ Jesus, in 
ver. 10, here, too, the " in himself" is not to be referred to Christ s 
death, as if = h ry aapitl avrov, in his flesh, in ver. 15, but Paul 
represents in it Christ himself, as the true one universal man, the 
representative of the race, in whom the two separate halves have 
returned to a perfect unity. As Adam is the one old man, in whom 
and through whom all individuals of the race receive the old man, 
so is Christ the one new man, in whom and through whom all receive 
the new man, made after God in righteousness and holiness. (See 
at Horn. v. 12, seq_.) Accordingly it is clear that the making both 
one, creating the two into one new man (ra d^oreoa KV -rroieiv, the 
K~i&iv rovg dvo etg KVO, ttaivbv dvdp&nov ) is not merely external, a 
purely negative removal of the separating medium, but something 
truly spiritual ; the process of Christ s life was the actual creation 
of this one new man. But now the question arises, how, after this, 
is the second half of the subordinate clause iva d-TroKara/l/Laf?/, . T. A.> 
to be taken, without being merged in the former half ? If we, with 
Harless, conceive the union which Christ effected between those 
under and those not under the theocracy, as an outward one only, 
there certainly appears here an advance, inasmuch as those at first 
outwardly united, are afterwards, by the cross, i. e., by the death 
of the Son of God on the cross, also inwardly reconciled with 
God. But this hypothesis, that the union of Israel and non-Israel 


is to be conceived as a merely outward one, can only be purchased 
at the expense of the idea in the preceding words. We must, there 
fore, look for another acceptation of the Iva d-o/caraAAa^/, that lie 
may reconcile, in relation to the preceding Iva K-iorj, that he may 
create. First, it is decided that the words rovg dptport-povg iv ivi aw- 
fian scil. ovrag are to be closely connected. The one body forms the 
antithesis to the former separateness in the dual state, and 
body, denotes, as is usual in the language of Paul (Rom. xii. 5, 
v <j&\id io[J,ev iv Xpiarw, 1 Cor. X. 17, xii. 13, dg ev oC^ia 
(iev, Eph. iv. 12, 16, v. 23 ; Col. i. 18, 24, ii. 19, iii. 15), the church 
as Christ s body, which he fills with his life. Ev ivi ou^a-i in 
our passage, is parallel with iv ivi -rrvevf-iari in ver. 18 ; Jews and 
Gentiles are in spiritual unity in one body. (See at iv. 4.) As the 
individual is divided into body and spirit, so^also does the united 
Christ of the church (1 Cor. xii. 12) bear in itself body and spirit. 
(In the same way, also, in Col. iii. 15 it is said, iicMiOrjre tV ivi 
oupan.) To refer the words to the atoning death of Christ, as 
= iv ry oapiu avrov, ver. 15, is in every respect inappropriate. In 
the first place, the 6ia rov aravpov, through his cross, already ex 
presses that idea ; for to take those words as a subordinate deter 
mination of iv ivi a^iart in the sense, " by means of the giving up 
of his one body, that is to say, through the cross," is altogether op 
posed to Paul s usual style. It is self-evident that the giving up 
of the body took place through the death of the cross, and so Paul, 
in using a-avpog constantly supposes the body as what was put to 
death by the cross. But again, in this acceptation of iv oupa-i, 
the addition of ivi, one, is unsuitable. That Christ s body was One 
has no relation whatever to the atonement ; while, on the contrary, 
the previous duality of the Jews and the Gentiles is very properly 
contrasted with the unity of both in the body of the church, where 
by, too, the close juxtaposition of rovg dpfio-epovs iv ivi oupari is alone 
satisfactorily explained. Finally, it is but little likely that Paul 
should have expressed the same idea five times in vers. 15 and 16, 
and that the widely different phrases iv ry oapid avrov, iv iavrti, iv 
ivi odftzri, did rov aravoov, and iv avrti, mean exactly the same thing. 
True, a similar accumulation is found in Col. i. 22 in the words iv 
-w a^jtan rTjg aap/co^- avrov dia rov Oavdrov, but brought together, 
however, on one point, not as a repetition of the same proposition 
in different places. 

But now as to the question, already touched on, how Iva d-no- 
KarakXdt; !) is connected with the preceding Iva Kriay, we must not, as 
we have already remarked, in accordance with the correct explana 
tion of the ttri&tv iv iavrti sig cva naivbv uvOpcJov, in dTTOKaraAAaa- 
oeiv see anything specifically different from uri&iv rather, the first 
half of the clause expressing intention would seem to be more ex- 

76 EPHESIANS II. 17, 18. 

actly determined by the second. The sense might accordingly be 
paraphrased in the following way : " That he might in himself 
make the two into one new man, and at the same time also recon 
cile (which the K-i&iv necessarily involves) not the Jews merely, but 
both Jews and Gentiles, united in the one body of the Church, to 
God through the cross, slaying the enmity between them through 
himself, (i. e., through the giving himself up unto death), i. e., re 
moving, annihilating it." (The double compound dTToicaraXXdoaeiv 
is found, besides our passage, also Col. i. 20, 21. Elsewhere we 
always have Ka-akkdaou. In profane authors the form strengthened 
by d-rro, found here and in the Epistle to the Colossians, has the 
meaning " to reconcile again." Paul uses it indifferently with Ka-ah- 

Vers. 17, 18. T<| the representation of the work of Christ itself 
is annexed in these verses the mention of the announcement of that 
work to man. The clause aal iWuy evriyye^iaaro, and came and 
preached peace, can by grammatical connexion only be joined with 
ver. 14, avrbg yap KOTLV, K. -. A. ; but, as the intermediate ideas do not 
bear the nature of a parenthetical clause, tA0c5v cannot be referred to 
Christ s incarnation, and to his teaching before his death, because 
that death had been already previously mentioned as the means 
of abolishing the divided condition of mankind : it is rather to be 
understood of Christ s being come in his Spirit. (See John xiv. 18.) 
Before the completion of his work by his death. Christ was not our 
peace ; his teaching before his death was only a prophesying as to 
himself; the true publication of the gospel did not begin till the 
pouring out of the Spirit. Before the completion of his work, so 
little did the Lord view those under, and those not under the theoc 
racy as one, that he even said to his disciples, Matth. x. 5, 6, " Go 
not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans 
enter ye not," and to the woman of Canaan, " I am not sent except 
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matth. xv. 24). The fol 
lowing o~i 6C avrov t-^ofiev K. r. X. also necessarily supposes Christ s 
work as already completed ; for 61 avrov, through himself, means dia 
rov alfiarog avrov, through his own blood, and the access to the 
Father (Trpocraywy;) -rrpbg rbv Trarepa), presupposes the adoption (i. 5), 
which is imparted only by the experience of salvation. The dptpo-repoi 
iv ivl ~vvna~i) both in one spirit, which answers to the d^tyo-epai, iv vl 
oufj.a-1 above, ver. 16, shews, as does also what follows (ver. 19, seq.), 
that Paul still has the leading idea in his mind, namely, the differ 
ence between Jews and non-Jews which had been abolished by Christ. 
(In ver. 17 B.D.F.G. read tipSjvrjv repeated before rolg t-yyi/V, a 
reading which Lachmann has justly received into the text. Ver. 
18. On Trpoaaywy?/ see Rom. v. 2. From the idea of paupdv, far, 
rises naturally that of access, of being permitted to approach ; if 

EPHESIANS II. 19, 20. 77 

a special reference is required, the only admissible one is that bor 
rowed from the Temple, which the Gentiles were not allowed to 
approach. ~E,v vl Trvevfiari is, of course, not " through one spirit, 
but united in one spirit," thus forming a unity of spiritual life, in 
which the former distinctions are abolished. Comp. Gal. iii. 28.) 

Vers. 19, 20. Paul next introduces the close of this chain of 
ideas, by representing, with a retrospect to the picture of the Gen 7 
tile world in ver. 12, this state of estrangement as now done away 
in the case of his readers ; like the Christian Israelites, they too, 
the Gentile Christians, are members of the commonwealth of Israel 
(n-o/Ureta rov I<rpa?/A), nay, stones in the building of the Temple, 
which the Church of Christ represents. (Ver. 19. On upa see at 
Rom. vii. 25. Whilst &voi and ov^-ohl-ai r&v dyiuv correspond to 
each other, rrdpouwi and oltceloi rov Qeov are mutually contrasted. 
The two former words are sufficiently explained by ver. 12. The 
form ovfjTTo^irrjg is not found again in the New Testament ; the 
grammarians designate it as not Greek. [See Lobeck s Phryni- 
chus, p. 172.] However, Josephus uses the word, Antiq. xix. 2, 2. 
But the second antithesis gives rise to a difficulty, because TrdpoiKot 
does not seem adapted to this connexion. It usually means a resident 
alien, i.e., one who is allowed to live in a city or land, but has no 
right of cithenship, thus allied to &vog } as indeed it occurs Acts vii. 
6, 29 ; 1 Peter ii. 11, along with evog. But that meaning is not 
appropriate here as an antithesis to oiKeioi rov Oeov. This phrase 
points to the image of a family of God (Gal. vi. 10) to which the 
idea of a Father naturally leads ; in this family the Jews are 
conceived as the proper inmates, and the Gentiles as next neigh 
bours, [or as Meier expresses himself, Beisassen,] who are, it is true, 
in the great house of God along with the Jews, but do not properly 
belong to the family.) The figure, which conceives all believers 
together as a temple, the corner-stone of which is Christ, whose 
foundations are the apostles and prophets, often occurs in the 
Scriptures. Each individual is called a temple (1 Cor. vi. 19],. and 
again all together also form a vab$ Qeov (1 Cor. iii. 16). The figure 
is most completely carried out in 1 Peter ii. 4, seq. Tkere Christ 
is called /U #of &v } v-nb dvOpunuv per d7TodedoKi[iaap,Ki<og, napa <Jt- Qea> 
t-tfAe/crd^, Kvnpog, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, etc. The 
individual believers, who are built upon Christ (inoiKodo/ielaOai, see 
1 Cor. iii. 10), also bear the name of living stones (MQoi &3vTSf), 
and the whole building of the Temple is designated a spiritual 
house (o7of TTvevpariKos). The basis of this figurative representa 
tion is formed by the typical conception of the stone Temple in 
Jerusalem, which was not arbitrarily built on its exact plan, but 
after patterns from a higher world (Exod. xxv. 8, 9). The only 
difficulty in our passage is caused by the remark that the apostles 

78 EPHESIANS II. 21, 22. 

and the prophets form the foundation (0e/-itvUof) which again is to 
be conceived as reposing upon Christ, as the proper foundation and 
corner-stone. For in other passages, particularly, Rev. xxi. 14, the 
twelve apostles alone form the Sudeica 6ep.eMov$ of the church. 
The first question, is here whether the reference is to the prophets 
of the Old, or to those of the New Testament ? Everything 
argues the latter. Not merely the circumstance that the pro 
phets are named after the apostles, but also the absence of the 
article, which makes apostles and prophets appear most intimately 
united, and the nature of the case ; the prophets of the Old Testa 
ment cannot well be called foundations of the Temple, which grows 
out of Christ (ver. 21). But how can the prophets of the New Tes 
tament be set on a par with the apostles in relation to the founda 
tion of the church ? Inasmuch as the Holy Ghost, which fills them 
both, is the real element which lays that foundation ; whilst Christ 
is called the corner-stone in his person, the apostles and prophets 
are called, not in relation to their persons, but in regard to their 
doctrine and the Holy Ghost, which accompanied it, taken together, 
the foundation. It is otherwise in Revelation ; the stress there laid 
on the number 12 is connected with the whole description of the new 
Jerusalem in that passage, and can therefore exercise no influence 
over our passage ; otherwise neither could Paul, as not being com 
prised in the ^number 12, be reckoned among the founders of the 
church. (Ver. 20 ditpoyuvialof; is found again in 1 Peter ii. 6. It 
stands for the Hebrew rjs -jas or MSB CN-I, Kecfrakfj ywvmf, Is. xxviii. 
16 ; Ps. cxviii. 22 ; Matth. xxi. 42.) 

Vers. 21, 22. As the building of the church rests on Christ as 
the corner-stone, so it also increases continually in him, i. e., in the 
fellowship of all the members of the church with Christ, in their 
introduction into him. Both verses express substantially the same 
idea ; for the second KV w must not be connected with raog , but with 
Kvpiog, and is consequently parallel with the first t v o>. But ver. 22 
again in the /cat v^etg, ye also, renders expressly prominent the refer 
ence to the Gentile Christians as integral parts of the structure of 
the church. But the concluding words of ver. 24, dg na~Qitir\-n }piov rov 
QEOV t v TTvevpart, for a habitation of God in the Spirit, define more 
accurately the idea of the vabg dyicx; tv icvpiu, holy temple in the Lord. 
Indeed this addition h KVQLU is produced by the image which Paul 
made use of in ver. 20 ; as it has the force of designating the vabg 
ayiog as a spiritual community, KV itvpiu has nothing at all pleonastic, 
though iv (I) preceded : for this tV w only defines the participle awap- 
jUoAoyofjUev?/. But the K,aroiiir]-i}piov rov QKOV KV Trvsvuari describes 
still more expressly the nature of this spiritual community, which 
is built up in Christ of Gentiles and Jews. The church is in it de 
scribed as the lodging, in which God himself takes up his abode (see 


2 Cor. vi. 16, seq.), and that too permanently, inasmuch as it is of 
a spiritual nature in opposition to the earthly habitation (KaroiK^Trj. 
piov yr/i i ov), from whrch the whole simile is borrowed. (Ver. 21. 
The 77 and -naoa is wanting in B.D.E.G., it is, therefore, no doubt to 
be erased. But rrdaa okotfop/ must not be rendered " every build 
ing," since mention is made here of the one Temple only, but " the 
whole building." In later Greek rrdg often has the meaning totus 
even without the article. [See generally on the use of Trd? Winer s 
Or. 18, 4, and Harless on this passage.] 2vvapfj,okoyei.v is found 
again only at iv. 16. It = itvftfkflt&nti and refers to the firmness of 
the building, in which the various personages and opinions [iv. 16] 
are put together. The form avfa, instead of the usual at-favw, is 
found nowhere else in the New Testament but Col. ii. 19. Ver. 22. 
On account of iv w, which precedes, iv -xvevua-ri cannot be con 
nected with ovvoiKodonslcf6e } but only with the collective idea Ka-oiKrj- 
rrjpiov TOV GtoD. Harless chooses to take iv -vevfian ic in the Holy 
Ghost ;" but against this are : 1, the preceding iv w, i. e., iv Kvpiu ; 
2, the rov Osov. Paul certainly says xapd, ayarr?/ iv 7Tvevfj,aTi } but he 
does not, and cannot, say : debt; iv -Trvevfia-i, because the Spirit itself 
is God. Ev Trvev^ari forms here the antithesis with iv crap/a, with a 
reference to the vabg %eipo-noir]Toc;.} 

Chap. iii. 1. To this description of the glory of the church Paul 
meant now to add only a prayer, in which he beseeches God to real 
ize in his readers all that belongs to the idea of the church, in order 
with it to close entirely this general part of his epistle ; but he 
allows himself by the liveliness of his feelings to be once more 
led into a discussion, so that he does not till ver. 14 resume 
the discourse begun in ver. 1. There has been indeed no want of 
attempts to avoid the assumption of an anacoluthon in ver. 1, by 
proposing to make ver. 1 an independent proposition, and supply 
the verb which is wanting. Some MSS., particularly, D.E., supply 
Trpeofleva), which may be supposed to have come into the text from 
vi. 20, others M*MJ$^MC, perhaps after Phil. ii. 16. Most interpre 
ters, who are against the anacoluthon, content themselves with sup 
plying elfj,i. But, to say nothing of the difficulty caused by the 
TOVTOV %dpiv on this assumption, the article must then necessarily 
have been wanting before 6^10^. But, if we suppose a digression 
in ver. 2, Paul cannot possibly resume the discourse in ver. 8, or ver. 
13, or even iv. 1, as many have thought, but only, as all the better 
later interpreters assume, in ver. 14, where the TOVTOV %dpiv ex 
pressly marks the resumption of the discourse. Thus the thanks 
giving prayer in ver. 14, seq., is brought into connexion with the 
description of the church in ii. 19, seq., in the glory of which the 
Gentiles also have a share, and the TOVTOV %dpiv appears, therefore, 
in well-founded connexion. But Paul makes mention of his bonds 

80 EPHESIAXS III. 2, 3. 

here in order, we may suppose, to allow the glory just described to 
appear in stronger contrast with the then existing state of the church, 
and especially to make the Gentiles observe, by what sacrifices on 
his part their entrance into the church had been purchased. Con 
sidered in itself, we might here take vnep v\i&v r&v iOv&v "for 
your sake, L e., because I have preached to the Gentiles." But if- 
we compare verse 13, and especially the decisive parallel passage 
Col. i. 24, it results that here too the words are to be taken, " for 
your benefit :" in what sense this is more particularly to be under 
stood will be found determined at Col. i. 24 more in detail. (We 
find at iv. 1 6 dta/uof tv avpiw for b dsofito^ rov Xpiorov Irjaov. The 
genitive here is to be taken as a designation of the active cause, 
" whom* Christ and his cause have made a prisoner, and that too 
unto salvation for you, the Gentiles, i. e., for the whole body of Gen 
tiles/ as in Philern., verse 13, deapol rov evayyeAtov, bonds of the 
gospel, denote bonds, which the gospel has brought.) 

Vers. 2, 3. The expression which follows, and with which the 
digression extending to verse 13 begins, shews the uncertainty of 
Paul as to whether all his readers were acquainted with him person 
ally. This explains the naming his name in verse 1, and the picture 
of his thon existing state, and this very uncertainty was also the oc 
casion for Paul in what follows again to expatiate on his position 
with regard to the gospel and his mode of apprehending it, with 
reference to the main point of the calling of the Gentiles for the 
kingdom of God, before resuming at ver. 14 the main thread of his 
discourse. Paul does not name his apostolical office in general, as 
that in regard to his readers knowledge of which he shews himself 
uncertain, but the dispensation of the grace of God, that to him was 
made known the mystery of the redemption by immediate revelation 
and with special reference to the Gentiles. The subordinate clause 
on Kara d-ondAvipiv, K. -. A., defines, that is to say, the idea of the 
chief clause dye fjKovaare rrjv olKovopiav rijg %dpirog r. 6., K. r. A., more 
accurately. (Ver. 2. See on dye and its relation to etmp the remarks 
in the Comm. on Eom. viii. 9 ; 2 Cor. v. 3 ; Gal. iii. 4. Elye here 
contains the idea of pre-supposition in itself : " that is to say, if yon, 
as I may suppose, have heard." On olKovo/j,ia } see at i. 10. It can 
not here, as at 1 Cor. ix. 17 ; Col. i. 25, mean " the apostolical 
office," as people have been misled by the latter parallel passage to 
assume also here ; on the contrary, the reference to the office here 
is couched in the %dotg rov Geov, as the addition T% doddarjs \ioi elg 
vfj,dg shews, while Col. i. 25 relates to oiKovofiia. The oiKovofiia here 
denotes only the way in which the office came to Paul, viz., Kara 
dTTOKaXin^iv. In ver. 7 Kara rtjv dupedv rfa %dpiro, K. r. A., stands 
together in the same way, and in verse 8 Paul himself explains 
the grace, of his apostolical call to preach to the Gentiles. ~El$ vatic; 

EPHESIANS III. 4, 5. 81 

marks again the special reference to the Gentiles for whom Paul 
was especially called. (Ver. 3. The uTroKa^v^ig relates, of course to 
the occurrence at Damascus, Acts ix. Instead of the reading of the 
text. rec. tyvwptae, which was doubtless put in the text only on ac 
count of KyvupiaOTj which follows in verse 5, we must read tyvu>- 
piaOri on the authority of A.B.C.D.F.G., and with all the better 
critics and interpreters.) 

Ver. 4. In a subordinate clause, which, however, need not be, 
with Griesbach, exactly put in brackets, Paul appeals, with respect 
to the mystery of Christ, which is imparted to him by revelation, to 
his own earlier communications to them, from which they might un 
derstand his knowledge in the mystery of Christ. This idea exhibits 
the striking feature that Paul seems by it to set up his readers as 
judges over him ; they are to judge of his knowledge in the gospel 
from his communications to them ; it should seem that they, on the 
contrary, would first be obliged to learn of him what the mystery of 
Christ is. But Paul conceives them to himself as endowed with the 
Holy Ghost, and through him the gift of the duiKpiaig Trvevudruv, 
discerning of spirits, and thus the idea is merely this : " the Spirit 
in you will testify to you that my representation of the gospel is the 
true one." But Paul would certainly not have made that remark, 
had not there been persons, who denied him the true understanding 
in the mystery of Christ (cvveoic; iv TGJ juv<m?p/Gj rov Xptaroi)), and of 
whom it was supposed that they would sooner or later also appear 
against him in the churches to whom this epistle is addressed. (On 
KaOug see i. 4. The reference cf 7rpoeypai/>a to an earlier epistle is 
quite inadmissible ; the expression is only to be referred to the pre 
vious declarations of Paul in this very epistle. Paul scarcely has in 
mind any particular passage ; he has the epistle up to that point be 
fore his eyes, which already sufficed to make his readers conscious 
of the apostolical spirit which animated him. Upug 5 " according to 
which, in consequence of which." The dvaytvuatcovTes places wholly 
out of the question any viva voce expositions whatever ; it is to be 
referred immediately to the public reading of the epistle in the con 
gregations. The avvsaig is here the gnosis in its more defined, as it 
were, scientific form. See the remarks on i. 8.) 

Ver. 5. Paul does not mean in the words which follow to ex 
plain why he calls this decree of God a pvoTTJpiov, mystery, as is 
Meyer s opinion, but to place the apostolical form of revelation as 
the higher one in comparison with all previous ones. The decree of 
God in Christ is called a ^varripiov only inasmuch as it cannot be 
known from human power, but only by means of Divine revelation. 
Stress must, therefore, be laid on the w? v v v direnaXv^Oi], as it is 
now revealed, to which an ov% OVTO)$ tyvupiodri, as an antithesis, is 
to be understood. (The 6 is connected with the pvorj ipiov immedi- 
VOL. V. 


atcly preceding, not with that in verse 3, which would be requisite 
if a parenthesis were supposed. " Sons of men" is a general desig 
nation of men as sucli ; Paul doubtless thought especially of the . 
Prophets of the Old Testament, but he seems designedly to conceive 
the idea in quite a general way ; " the mystery has not been made 
known to men in general, wherever they may have been and when 
ever they may have lived, as it is now revealed to the prophets." 
Ttved denotes here age, generation. The iv is rejected by the MSS. 
with an overwhelming majority. The dative is usual in definite 
statements of time. See Winer s Gr. 31, 9. On the juxtaposition 
of d-iToa-roXoi KCU npo^rai, see at ii. 20. The av-ov here added, which 
refers to God, is certainly genuine, since the omission of it is easily 
explained by ii. 20. But it is undoubtedly singular, that Paul here 
calls the apostles, and consequently himself along with them, u lioly 
apostles." De Wette indeed goes too far in finding in this a mark of 
the non-apostolical origin of the epistle ; but still the expression is 
unusual. I explain it to myself by the fact that Paul here conceives 
the apostles and prophets as a collective body [see iv. 11], and 
gives them as such, therefore, in their official character, the predi 
cate ayiog, just as he oalls the faithful, considered as a body, dyioi, 
or rjyiaapevoi, but never an individual. The connexion of dyimg with 
KV TTvevftart, which Meier proposes, is utterly to be rejected ; iv TIVBV- 
iian is undoubtedly to be taken as more exactly determining a -e/ca- 

Ver. 6. That now in which Paul finds the progress in the 
revelation of the mystery of Christ, as it was imparted to the apos 
tles and prophets, is again the calling of the Gentiles along with 
the Jews through the gospel. But this certainly seems to have 
been already clearly taught in the Old Testament also (see Isaiah 
Iv. 5, Ix. 3, seq., 10, seq. ; Jerem. iii. 16, seq.), and thus everything 
specific in the revelation in the New Testament to be lost ! But in 
the Old Testament just that point, which was the decisive one in 
regard to the question as to the relation of the Gentiles to the 
Church, and which Paul had to defend against the Jewish Christ 
ians, was not discussed ; the Gentiles were, it is true, represented 
in the Old Testament as called to the kingdom of the Messiah, but 
without any clear information on the point that they would enter 
it immediately, not through the medium of circumcision and of the 
ceremonial law. The universal character of Christianity was first 
completed by enlightenment on that decisive point. The apostles 
officially recognized that great truth under the illumination of the 
Holy Ghost (Acts xv.) ; but Paul was called more than the rest to 
translate it into life, and to defend it against all gainsayers. (The 
infinitive elvai connects itself with what precedes as denoting not 
purpose, but only the explanation, "that is to say that the Gentiles 


are to be, etc." We have already had avyK^ovoaog, i. 14.* ZWHTW- 
</f we may suppose was invented by Paul himself; it is found in 
ecclesiastical writers alone, who borrowed the word probably from 
Paul s epistles. ^vpij,lro%og is found also in v. 7. There is no cli 
max in the words ; rather the former expression seems only more 
accurately defined by the two later ones ; but, the repetition of 
ovv seems meant to put the leading idea in a clear light. Lachmann 
has stricken out the avrov before KV TOJ Xpiar& on the authority of 
A.B.C.D. We scarcely see, however, who would have added it if it 
were originally wanting in the text, whilst we can understand how 
it might easily have been omitted by copyists.) 

Vers. 7, 8.* The apostle represents himself, then, as a servant of 
this gospel, according to the grace bestowed on him to preach the 
gospel to the Gentiles, but designates himself in his humility, not 
withstanding the grandeur of his call, as the least of all the saints, 
(thus not merely of the holy apostles but of all saints,) with refer 
ence to his former persecution of the church of the Lord before his 
conversion. (Ver. 7. Compare Col. i. 23, 25 as a parallel passage. 
On dwpea rrjg %dpiTog see at ver 2. Ver. 8 explains more in detail 
what the %dpig consists in, viz., in the authority to preach the gospel 
among the Gentiles. T^g dodeiarjg is, after Griesbach and Lachmann, 
to be justly preferred to the reading of the text. rec. TTJV doddaav, as 
the xdpig, not the Aopea, denotes the office. On the combination KV- 
epyeiav Tijg dvvdpeug, see i. 19. The mention of the power of God is 
founded on the circumstance that Paul sees in his change of heart 
from a foe to a friend of Christ an act of omnipotence. So rightly 
Calvin, on this passage : domini est homines nihili extollere ; haec 
est potentias ejus efficacia, ex nihilo grande aliquid efficere. 
Ver. 8. The designation of himself by Paul as K^a^arorepog -ndv-uv 
dyiuv, least of all saints, is no false modesty. He was well aware 
on the other hand [1 Cor. xv. 9, 10] that he had laboured more than 
they all ; but that he ascribed to the grace of God alone ; himself 
he knew only in his wretchedness. On the comparative form of the 
superlative, see Winer s Gr. 11. 2, and Wetstein, ad h. 1. Areft- 
XViaarog is found again at Roin. xi. 33. On TO nkov-og see at ii. 7.) 

Ver. 9. But Paul s task as the preacher of the gospel is further 
also to enlighten all men as to the institution of the mystery of re 
demption which was hidden in God from eternity and revealed in 
Christ. The nal fyu riaai Trdvrag, and to enlighten all, cannot as 
Meier explains, serve merely to determine more closely the tV rotg 
tdveoiv evayyehLaaadat, publish the gospel among the Gentiles, which 
precedes, but is a fresh idea. Primarily, indeed, Paul has the task 
of preaching among the Gentiles, but then also that of enlightening 
all men on the mystery of Christ, as in fact also, according to the 

* It is not there. It is found Rom. viii. 17. [K. 


testimony of the Acts, be always offered the gospel to the Jews 
first. Of course, however, the Quriaai Trdvrag is to be understood not 
of the actual result, but of the tendency of the office, so that what 
Paul himself could not execute remained for his successors to do. 
Further, there is no occasion here to maintain in okovopa rov fji-vorrjpiov 
a reference to the calling of the Gentiles to the kingdom of God, to 
which idea doubtless the reading Koivuvia owes its origin. In vers. 
18, 19, Paul himself explains the expression rig ?/ olKovo^ia. It 
denotes merely the riches of Divine grace which are revealed in 
the institution of redemption through Christ. This mystery, how 
ever, is designated as hidden in God from eternity in order to con 
trast the present in the vvv, as the time of the revelation, with the 
past. But the object of the addition, TW rd Trdvra tcrtaav-t, who cre 
ated al{ things, is the most difficult thing to explain in this passage. 
For that the reading dia Irjaov Xptorov, which is wanting in all the 
better MSS., is not genuine, may be considered as decidedly certain 
as the interpretation of the words of the physical, not of the spiritual 
creation of the new birth, in conformity with the striking remarks of 
Harless ad h. 1. Usteri and Meier have again recommended the 
latter acceptation of the words in addition to Calvin, Calixtus, and 
others. But both the aorist of the participle and the rd -ndv-a, all 
things, require the reference of the words to the creation generally. 
But for what purpose does Paul here exalt the creative energy of 
God ? In order, we may suppose, to make it observed that the in 
stitution of the redemption in Christ himself is a creative act of God, 
and could emanate from him only who has made all things ; the 
Creator alone could also be the Eedeemer. (On fari&iv see at i. 
18. A.B.C.D.E.F.G. and other important critical authorities read 
oiKovopia, so that there can be no question whatever as to the decis 
ion for it and against Koivuvia. In addition to a-no r&v alutvuv = 
tV.te, Gen. vi. 4, F.G. read also KOI dnb r&v yeve&v. But this addi 
tion is quite incongruous, for it points to the historical development 
of humanity ; while Paul intends, as the iv TGJ 9eo> shews, to speak 
of absolute eternity, of the decree of redemption as God conceived 
it in his eternal being, which in the following verse is called -rr 

Ver. 10. The following idea is clear, it is true, when taken lit 
erally, but it contains a difficulty, partly in itself, partly in the con 
nexion of the passage. " The infinite wisdom of God," says Paul 
(" which reveals itself in the gospel the mystery of redemption), is 
through the church (as the theatre of his working) made known to 
the angels in heaven." According to this Paul supposes the angels 
capable of an increase of their knowledge. We have no reason to 
refer this exclusively to good or exclusively to bad angels. Paul 
speaks altogether generally. All higher beings receive by means of 

EPHESIANS III. 11, 12. 85 

the church a deeper insight into God s wisdom. We found in the 
gospels that sympathy with events in the church is attributed to the 
angels ; particularly, joy at the penitence of sinners (Luke xv. 10). 
Paul says further, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, " we are 
become a spectacle to the angels" (iv. 9) ; but here only is an increase 
of their insight into God s wisdom through the church and the 
events in her spoken of. A concordant declaration is found in 1 Pet. 
i. 12 in the words, dg a &mdvpavoiv dyyekot napaKv-^ai, into which the 
angels desire, etc. The idea is difficult to conceive, since, as we 
cannot imagine in the angels any propagation, so neither can we 
imagine any development, nor, therefore, in general, any history. 
The earth, with man, the bearer of her consciousness, appears, ac 
cording to this idea of the apostle, again as the centre of God s work 
ings, as the Golgotha of the universe. The universe takes part in 
the occurrences on her, not merely in the contemplation of them, 
but also in their actual reaction. The increase of knowledge in 
the angels is to be conceived as at the same time a change of their 
position ; all that is in heaven and on earth is reconciled through 
Christ. (Eph. i. 10 ; Col i. 20.) The particular thing, however, 
which is now first (vvv\ i. e., after the revelation of the hidden de 
cree of God, made known to them, as the manifold wisdom of God 
(7ro/U>7rot/a/to(: oofyia rov Qeov ), is the wonderful way of God in the par 
don of the sinner, through the adjustment in him of the antagonism 
between justice and grace. But how comes Paul upon this idea 
here in this connexion ? He wishes to contrast with his personal 
nothingness the grandeur of his call, and therefore pursues the 
theme of his ministry through all its stages. " First of all," says 
he, " he has to preach among the Gentiles, then to enlighten all 
men as to the mystery, and both in order to make know^n, even to 
the angels in heaven, the infinite wisdom of God." (Nw is want 
ing in F.G., but it certainly is necessary to the context ; it forms the 
antithesis to the concealment from eternity of the Divine decree. 
On KV rolg inovpaviotg, see at i. 3, 20. Hohviroiiuhog is, it may be sup 
posed, coined by Paul himself ; it is not found again in Greek. It 
means properly mult if or mis, manifold, many-formed ; as a predicate 
of God s wisdom it denotes the various forms in which it manifests 

Vers. 11, 12. In conclusion, Paul refers the wisdom of God, 
which is now made manifest to the angels, to the eternal decree of 
redemption (see on i. 5, 10), which he conceived in Christ, in whom 
through faith Christians have joy and access to God. (In verse 11 
npoOeaig rtiv aluvuv is " the purpose determined on in eternity," as 
Jude ver. 6, ttpioig neydkrjg ijfispag, "judgment that will take place on 
the great day." Further the Knoir^aev KV Xp/arw, wrought in Christ, 
is necessarily to be referred to the historical realization of God s de- 

86 EPHESIANS III. 13-15. 

cree through Christ s suffering and death, not to the inner act of 
the Divine will. First, the aorist leads to that interpretation, 
secondly, the form of the name ; Christ Jesus designates, always 
and without exception, the Word become flesh. Afterwards ver. 12 
gives the consequence of the decree being carried out ; -napp^oia de 
notes the state of faith in its relation to the world, and 7rpoc?aycoy^ in 
its relation to God [see ii. 18]. The accumulation of substantives 
has given occasion to various readings. F.G. read TTJV Trpoaaywy^v 
eig i fjv TrapprjoiaVj D. reads KV rw K^evOepcjOrjvai for KV ry TreTTOidrjaei,. But 
the common text deserves the preference on the testimony of all 
critical authorities. UerroiOrjoig (see 2 Cor. i. 15, iii. 4, viii. 23, x. 2) 
is certainly closely related to napprjaia. It here defines the Trpocraywy^ 
more accurately as a coming near unto God, which proceeds in a 
trustful tone of mind. On the other hand, &d rijg Triareug avrov de 
notes the means by which both rrapprjoia and -npoaayuy/i are alone 
possible. The genitive avrov relates to Christ ; see on this construc 
tion in lieu of dg avrov the Comm. on Bom. iii. 26.) 

Ver. 13. The idea which follows at length concludes the long 
digression from verse 2 ; we may add that it is stated so generally 
that many interpretations of it are possible, and have been proposed. 
Geov or v/mg may be supplied at cdrovpai, and again ejue or vpag at 
inKanKlv. With Harless I prefer supplying alrovpai Qebv [irj eiucaK-eiv 
tyje, I ask of God that I may not faint, because thus only KV receives 
its proper meaning, and 616 too by this interpretation is best con 
nected .with the main idea which precedes. Paul had spoken in 
what precedes of his great mission, and with this is fitly connected, 
" for the reason that so great a charge has been entrusted to me I 
beseech God that I may not faint in my tribulation for you." But 
the VTTKP TIII&V 1 connect, on account of the analogy of iii. 1 and Col. 
i. 24 (on which see more particulars), with Bhfyeoi pov, not with 
alrovpai. The last words of the- verse, jjrig earl 66%a fytwv, again admit 
a double reference also ; the rjng 3 attracted by the following <Jd|a, 
can be joined to dhtyeig, or to p) KKtcaKslv. I prefer the latter, be 
cause it could be asserted only in a forced way that Paul s sufferings 
were a glory of the Gentile Christians. On the other hand, the 
thought " my indefatigable endurance of all dangers, the approving 
of my faith in tribulations, that is your glory," is entirely pertinent. 

Vers. 14, 15. Here now Paul resumes with rovrov %dpiv } on this 
account, the course of ideas from ver. 1, and utters the prayer for his 
readers, which should come in immediately after ii. 22. The bend 
ing of the knees is mentioned Acts xx. 36 as a symbol of devotion 
and humiliation before God. But the designation of the Father by 
the addition tf ov } K. r. A. is peculiar here ; for the words TOV nvpiov 
flpuv Irjoov Xpiarov here are decidedly not genuine, according to A. 
B.C., and Lachrnann has justly erased them. The clause tf ov } K. r. A. 


is therefore immediately connected with Trarepa, by which the refer 
ence to Christ is excluded ; rather God, in the most general sense, 
as Father, *. e., as Creator of all beings, is designated. Accord 
ing to the special reference of the prayer to the Gentile Christians 
(ver. 1), the clause declares expressly that God is the Father of the 
Gentiles also, not of the Jews alone. The meaning of the clause 
tf ov K. r. A. is entirely determined by that of the word narpid, for 
the formula dvopd$8tOtu KK nvoq cannot be translated otherwise than : 
" to be named from something," and not as = dvai " to be," or even 
" to be made." Uarpid is found again in the New Testament only 
at Luke ii. 4, Acts iii. 25, in the sense of 0uA,?7, " family, the whole 
of those who are descended from one -uriip." But the lan<niu<>-e 

O O 7 

"every family in heaven and on earth," involves an incongruity. 
The reference to heaven can apply only to the world of angels, of 
which no 0vA?/ can be predicated, because no propagation takes 
place in it. Grotius, Wetstein, and Holzhausen, thought they 
could solve the difficulty from the Kabbinical idea, which repie- 
sents the Jews as the earthly, the angels as the heavenly, family 
of God. (See Buxtorf. lexic. talm. p. 1753. The Kabbis had re 
ceived the word H^BS also.) But in this epistle Paul is precisely 
occupied with proving that Jews and Gentiles are equals : it is there 
fore utterly improbable that he would here have reference to that 
sectional representation. Besides, the article must then have been 
necessarily repeated before KV ovpavolc; and &m ri^ yfy. Equally in 
admissible is another interpretation which takes narptd in the sense 
of " paternity," Trarpdr?^. For although this seems to afford a 
good sense, still it is not demonstrable that Tra-pid is ever so used. 
Again, the idea of " paternity in heaven" is unsuitable, because in 
the world of spirits no development takes place. The passage 
seems to become plain, only as we take ndaa here as at ii. 21, in 
the sense of " entire," although the article is wanting. Paul con 
ceives in his mind all the beings of the creation in its two halves, 
the spiritual and the material world, as one posterity, as one family 
of God (compare ii. 19, olicelot rov Geo-), and this entire family has 
its name of children from God. In sense, therefore, Luther s version, 
" all that are called children in heaven and on earth," is entirely 

Yer. 16. The first thing which the apostle now begs of God for 
his readers is that he, according to the riches of his glory (which in 
cludes particularly along with it his almighty power), may strengthen 
them as to the inner man. The " being strengthened" (/cparowwO/"/- 
vai) which is further enforced by the adverbial dvvdftei, refers pri 
marily to the will ; and the strengthening of the will through God s 
Spirit alludes to the conflict which awaits all Christians. ^ The V 
TOV eou dvOpu-ov, in the inward man, determines, finally, with more 

88 EPHESIANS III. 17, 18. 

exactness the direction of the working of the Spirit ; the Divine 
Spirit operating in the believer refers primarily not to the body, the 
tfto dvOpuTtoz, but to the human spirit, or this considered as a faculty, 
to the vovg, mind, as the Sau dvdpunog. Mention of this antithesis 
was already made at Kom. vii. 22, 23. The inner man is not = 
itaivbg dVflpwTrof, new man; even the unregenerate man, living under 
the law, has the &TW dvdpu-rrog, the vovg. But without the opera 
tion of Divine grace through the Holy Ghost it remains in that \ia- 
raio-rjc; (iv. 17), which makes it incapable of conquering ; it is only 
through strength from above that the vovg becomes a conqueror. 
(See on Kom. vii. 25.) 

Vers. 17, 18. The meaning of naroiK,7]caL rbv XQLOTOV Std rr\q 
-Tiarsug iv rale; Kapdiaiq vp&v, that Christ may dwell in your hearts 
by faith, cannot in itself be doubtful after what has been ob 
served at ii. 22. It denotes the indwelling of Christ, the Xpiorbg 
iv fyuv (Col. i. 27), which realizes itself in the new birth through 
the working of the Holy Ghost on the one side, and of the recep 
tivity of man (of the nianc) on the other. (Compare the remarks 
on John xiv. 23, Gal. ii. 20.) But how does the idea here stand 
related to what precedes and what follows ? Paul cannot en 
treat God that he would grant that Christ may dwell in them ; 
for surely Christ already dwelt in the hearts of the readers (ii. 22) 
inasmuch as they are treated by the apostle as regenerate. Cer 
tainly the regenerate man may by degrees be more and more 
strengthened in the work of sanctification by the inner man ; but 
regeneration itself, and the dwelling of Christ in the heart connected 
with regeneration, are incapable of increase ; they merely are, or 
they are not. The difficulty can be removed only by connecting the 
following words : iv dyd-nri ippL^i-iivoi Kai refejue/Uw/Ltevoj, being rooted 
and grounded in love, immediately with the KaroiKrioai K. -. A True, 
considering the passage from a purely grammatical point of view, 
the connection of the clause iv dyd-nq K. r. A. seems to require a 
Metathesis of the Iva but intrinsic difficulties produced by this 
isolation of the KaroutrJGai rbv Xpiarbv 6td ri]<; mo-EMc; iv rdlg napdiaig 
fytwv, totally forbid that supposition. The Anacoluthon, which is 
accordingly to be supposed here (just as in Col. ii. 2), is excel 
lently justified by Harless remarking (p. 318), " the change of con 
struction (in the nominative of the participles) was the more 
natural here, that the predicate applicable equally to tcapdia/.g and 
to VIMV, could therefore be less properly joined exclusively with 
one of the .two ; and moreover the determining predicative clause, 
as an essential feature in the sentence, could not be subordinate 
to the preceding, but must stand independently." In this mode 
of taking it that great difficulty entirely vanishes. Paul prays 
for the indwelling of Christ not as something else after the being 

EPHESIANS III. 18, 19. 89 

strengthened in the inner man ; this rather appears as a subordi 
nate characterizing of the being strengthened, m the sense, that a 
dwelling of Christ in a mind not as yet established is distinguished 
from a dwelling in the established one. "That therefore Christ 
may by faith dwell in you, as in those who are established in love." 
The new birth is therefore presupposed in them ; but Paul beseeches 
God that they may grow in sanctification, that they may be firm 
also in their regeneration, and not relapse into their old ways. The 
TEdeneXiuntvoi, grounded, points back to the above figure of the tem 
ple (ii. 20, seq.) ; on tho other hand, eppifapwoi, rooted, is to be ex 
plained by the figure which compares the faithful with plants. 
(Comp. Ps. i. 3, Matth. xv. 13.) But love here cannot be God s or 
Christ s love towards believers, but conversely the love of believers 
towards them, which is the expression of the will strengthened by 
the Holy Ghost, who makes it capable of manifesting faith in keep 
ing the law, i. e., in love. However, that the article is wanting 
when properties are conceived as subjective possessions which Har- 
less asserts I am as little persuaded as is Winer (Gr. p. 113). 

Vers. 18, 19. -From this grounding in love next proceeds an in 
creased insight into the essence of the gospel, which insight is here 
taken telologically as the aim. As the object of the spiritual appre 
hension (see, on fca~aka(3Kodai, Acts iv. 13, x. 34, xxv. 25) we must 
understand neither the dyd-rrrj preceding, nor the one following, 
but that mystery hidden from eternity (verses 9, 10), which to the 
angels themselves is first made known through the works of God in 
the church. The natural powers of man do not suffice for this ap 
prehension ; he is first made capable of it by the power of grace ; 
therefore it is said iva ^ur^vairre KaraXapKodai, that ye may be able, 
etc. But this apprehension is not restricted to this or that esoteric 
circle, as Meier thinks, who understands the saints (ayioi) of the 
apostles and prophets alone ; it is rather to be referred to all 
believers. The four dimensions, borrowed from the relations of 
space, are not, in connexion with KarakafiEoOat, to be understood 
as denoting distinct, conceptional knowledge any more than the 
yv&vai which follows (for such cannot possibly be the possession 
of all believers in common), but of that comprehensive knowledge 
of essentials which by implication knows everything, and which 
John describes as the anointing of the Spirit which teaches every 
thing. (See on 1 John ii. 27.) As the second point, is then 
named the dydrrr] rov Xpiarov, which is the root. of the mystery itself, 
the length, breadth, depth, and height of which is to be compre 
hended. But the combination : yvtivai rrjv vTep,3aA/Loverav rift yvu- 
aewf dyd-rrr]v } " to know the love, which passeth knowledge," forms an 
Oxymoron. The incomprehensible cannot be comprehended. To 
this cannot be answered, that the knowledge to which love is to lead 

90 EPHESIANS III. 20, 21. 

is the new one wrought by the Spirit, the other, which love surpasses, 
that of the natural man ; for the love of Christ surpasses even the 
knowledge of the regenerate man. But the true knowledge of Di 
vine things and also of the love of Christ, is just this, to recognize 
that it is the infinite which to an ever increasing knowledge must 
ever present fresh aspects of knowledge. At first Luther correctly 
rendered this passage, " and know that the love of Christ surpasses 
all knowledge." But afterwards he allowed himself to be led into 
the error of understanding the love of Christ of the love of men 
towards Christ, and translated : " and to know that to love Christ 
is better than all knowledge." ( E|to%r;w does not differ in meaning 
from the simple verb ; it is found in the New Testament only here. 
On ri see at i. 18. On &7repj&&Av, see i. 19, ii. 7.) 

But the last words of ver. 19, Iva -rr^pud^re dg nav TO 7rA?7p//a 
TOV Qeov, that ye may be filled, etc. are still difficult. However, if 
we compare i. 23, it cannot be doubtful that -rr/b/pw/ia T. 0. is here 
too the Divine Being, as comprising the fulness of life and of power. 
The referring Tr/b/pw^a to the church, which Koppe in particular has 
defended, is here inadmissible, as Meier has already well proved. 
The reading Trfajpudy -rrdv TO n^rjpu^a in B. was, we may suppose, 
devised by such copyists as thought they must interpret Tivb/pw/w of 
the church. With the reference then to God, the meaning of the 
words would be this, "that ye may be filled (with all Christian gifts 
and virtues) unto the complete fulness of God, i. e., that ye may be 
so filled, as God is filled," according to Christ s word : " ye must be 
perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matth. v. 48, 
on which see the Comm.) But is not that already involved in the 
indwelling of Christ (ver. 17) ? Where Christ, the living Son of 
God, dwells, is surely already all the fulness of God. Christ in us 
and we in Christ are doubtless to be distinguished. The new birth 
begins with Christ being in the heart, but it is only by degrees that 
the new man grows up from childhood to manhood, so that we are 
also completely in Christ. This aspect of personal perfection in the 
new birth, up to manhood in Christ, is here denoted by the being 
filled with all the fulness of God. 

Vers. 20, 21. Finally, a magnificent doxology (similar to those 
at Rom. ix. 5, xi. 36, and especially xvi. 25-27, also Jude vers. 24, 
25) forms, the conclusion of this prayer, and thus also of the whole 
first part of the epistle. The praise of God is referred primarily to 
the almighty power, through which God can not only fulfil prayers, but 
is able to execute far more than we pray for, or understand. (In ver. 
20 the construction of virtp as an adverb in the sense : " who can do 
everything super-abundantly," is decidedly to be rejected ; " to be 
able to do beyond all" is a popular description of omnipotence. 
v is found again 1 Thess. iii. 10, v. 13. God bestows 



this on man m Christianity, which gives far more than the boldest 
prayer can express. The dvva^ug KV ijfuv evepyovpevr) is according to 
ver. 16 the power of the Holy Ghost, which produces in the heart all 
that was expressed in the foregoing verses. Ver. 21. Ev rq ktnik^ ia, 
iv Xptarw is striking. A.C. read nal KV X., D.F.G. have also KOI, but 
they place iv X. before, and KV rf/ t-K. after. Lachmann has declared 
in favour of the KCU, but the intrinsic arguments are too decidedly 
against it. Its origin is easily explained from an Asyndeton being 
found in the passage, and the transposition from its being thought 
that Christ ought not to stand after the church. But KV X. would 
seem merely to determine more exactly the KKnhrjoia, "in the church, 
which is in Christ," perhaps with reference to the KKKXrjaia of the Old 
Testament, in which were Jews only. The formula : d$ Trdaag re? 
yci sag rov ai&voc; r&v aluvwv is also remarkable. Had we merely 
els K. rag j. rov al., the entirety of the aluv would appear simply di 
vided into its different successive ages ; but the repetition of the r&v 
al. disturbs the thought, for in relation to the one aluv the altivec; 
can again denote only sections of it. But while the yeveai relate 
to the short spaces of human development and duration of life, the 
altiveg denote longer spaces of time, which, taken in their totality, 
express the metaphysical idea of eternity. [Gal. i. 5 ; Phil. iv. 20 ; 
1 Tim. i. 17 ; 2 Tim. iv. 18 ; Kev. i. 6.] Accordingly, the pecu 
liarity of the passage lies simply in the fact that the separate altiveg 
are again collected into the entirety of the aiuv } of which no other 
example is found.) 


(IV. i_vi. 24.) 

(iv. 1-16.) 

To the predominantly doctrinal exposition Paul now subjoins the 
ethical discussion, which, however, is, naturally, also continually 
penetrated with, and supported by, doctrine. 

Paul opens this second part with a call to preserve the unity of 
the faith. After the foregoing discussions this can refer only to 
the relation between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians ; it 
might, therefore, be at first deduced from these verses, that in the 
churches to which this epistle is addressed differences also existed 
similar to those in Galatia. But, as we have already shewn in the 
Introduction, there is here no trace of formal controversy ; every 
thing wears merely the appearance of a warning against apprehended 
future differences. 

Chap. iv. 1, 2. .Paul begins his exhortations with again (com 
pare iii. 1), mentioning his captivity, and calls himself the prisoner 
in the Lord, i. e., prisoner as a Christian, a Christian prisoner, in 
which are expressed both the cause of his imprisonment, and the 
spirit in which he endures it. That Paul adds this in the sense ; 
" to me as suffering for Christ s sake it is surely at least permitted 
to exhort you," is very improbable, for even his apostolical office 
amply justified him in the exhortation. Nor can I favour the as 
sumption that Paul wished, by mentioning his imprisonment, to 
awaken compassion, and thereby excite his readers to render obedi 
ence to his exhortations. It seems to me more probable that Paul 
means by the addition 6 dta^io^ iv icvpiu, the prisoner in the Lord, to 
represent himself as absolutely obedient to the Lord s will, and by 
that means to encourage them to a like state of mind. The nature 
of the conduct which Paul recommends to his readers is determined 
by the calling (/cA?/crif), of which they are to walk worthily ; this 
call is a holy call (2 Tim. i. 9) to the kingdom of God, the commu 
nity of the saints ; the walking of those called must, therefore, be 
holy also. Of course the question here is not of any holiness pro- 



ceeding from one s own strength, but of a holy walk which grows as 
fruit from the root of faith. In the parallel passage (Col. i. 10) it 
is : Kepnrarriacu d&ug rov tcvpiov, i. e., walk holy, as the Lord is holy 
(1 Pet. i. 16). To connect juerd -rrdarjg raneivo^poavv^g Kal TrpaoTT/roc 
with all loivliness and meekness, Avith " walk worthily" is inappro 
priate, because in the more general word " worthily" the special 
ones following are already included ; humility and meekness, etc., 
are rather to be taken as an unfolding of what is included in d&ug 
nepLrtarffoai. On the other hand, to take fjterd fj.aKpoOvp.iag alone 
as Lachmann too punctuates, does not seem natural ; it more fit 
tingly connects itself with dvexouevoi d/U^Awv, in this sense : "bearino- 
with long-suffering (your various weaknesses) among each other." 
(Comp. the parallel passage Col. iii. 12, where the same words 

Ver. 3. Since long-suffering is only a form of expression belong 
ing to love, iv dydrrq, in love, cannot be taken with what precedes, 
but only with what follows, as Lachmann also correctly punctuates. 
The endeavour to preserve in love the unity of the Spirit presupposes 
the existence of the unity, and the fear alone lest disturbing ele 
ments might destroy it. This accords entirely with our supposition 
that no controversy against false teachers already existing is found 
in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and that endeavours to guard the 
readers against the future attacks of such are alone observable. In 
interpreting the clause : kv rw ovvdEo^ rfjg Elpijvrjg, in the bond 
of peace, we must not be guided by the parallel passage Col. iii. 
14, where love was designated as the bond of perfectness (avvdeapog 
rijg r e /I e i 6 r 77 r o $) for the two are very different. Peace here is 
rather the opposite of strife or discord (pig, di^ooTaaia.} As such it 
is the bond (ovvSeafiogJ by which the members of the church are held 
together as an (evor^g nvevftarog ), and thus determines with more 
precision that spiritual unity which is to reign in the church ; for 
that the " unity of the Spirit," is not, as Grotius thought, the church 
herself, is abundantly obvious. 

Vers. 4-6. How unity, and consequently union, among believers 
is a necessary condition of their successful development, the apostle 
further proves, by enumerating all those things in which they are 
one. The following enumeration is not to be taken in the form of 
exhortation : " Be ye one body and one spirit, have one Lord," etc., 
but as an objective description of the nature of the church, so that 
eon alone is supplied. The Asyndeton serves merely to give force 
to the representation. The first clause then, " one body and one 
spirit" (KV o&iia Kal tv Trvevpa), refers back to the simile ii. 15, seq., 
which represented the church as dg Kaivog avdpwog Iv hi oupa-i icai 
iv KvL TTvevfiari, one new man in one body, etc. But the one Spirit 
which fills the church is, of course, not the human, but the Divine 

94 EPHESIANS IV. 4-6. 

Spirit, which, has been imparted to man through the completion of 
Christ s work (John vii. 39.) As, however, in the present condition 
of the church all the members in her are united to an outward and 
an inward unity, so have they also a like goal for the future, viz., one 
hope of their calling, of salvation in the kingdom of God. Thus 
then every division of the unity is excluded for the future also. In 
actual appearance the church of Christ has not remained true to 
that beautiful picture : the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace 
is ill preserved. Although all true members of Christ in all con 
fessions and sects form " one spirit, in one hope," still one body 
can certainly not be ascribed to them. But Paul does not mean to 
say either, that the church is no church unless she exhibits herself 
as KV object, Kal KV TTi ei jua, but that she is not in her normal state. 
And this no one can dispute, that the condition of the church, es 
pecially since the Keformation, can only be considered as a conse 
quence of sin, of the neglect of the apostle s exhortation (ver. 3), in 
that the admonition of God s Holy Spirit to correct the errors which 
had crept into her was not generally heeded. 

The following subjects (vers. 5, 6) appear as the cardinal points 
which the universal church has inwardly recognized as the sup 
ports of her life. The question here is not as to determining the 
doctrine upon these points, but as to the points themselves. Paul 
does not say, " the church has exactly the same doctrine as to the 
Lord, faith," etc., but " she has but one Lord, she has but one 
baptism," etc. It is unquestionably true that by false doctrine 
the Lord, faith, baptism, nay, God himself, can be transformed 
to something entirely different ; but it is equally certain that dif 
ferences in. doctrine may exist without impairing the essential na 
ture of the objects of faith. According to the apostle s meaning, 
therefore, those errors in doctrine are alone excluded here, which de 
stroy the substantial unity of the doctrine. Under this view it may 
justly be said this passage belongs to those which give information 
upon the fundamental articles, as 1 Cor. xv. 3, seq. ; Heb. vi. 1, 
seq. ; 1 John iv. 2. At first sight, however, the collocation of the 
words seems unnatural we expect particularly the Father to be 
put before the Son. But Paul begins with Christ, because all new 
life in man proceeds from him ; faith is kindled at him ; baptism, 
which supposes, and does nqt create faith, relates to him ; the Fa 
ther is named last, because it is only through baptism, i. e., taken 
subjectively, through the new birth, that man recognizes himself as 
child, and God as Father. Again, it may surprise us that the Lord s 
Supper is not mentioned. Harless explains this by the assumption 
that " Paul here names only the fundamental conditions of Chris 
tian communion, as they exist with regard to every one at his first 
entrance into it." But that is as true of the Lord s Supper as of 


baptism, since in the early church, at the baptism of adults the 
Lord s Supper followed directly after baptism. If we reflect that 
none of the passages treating of the fundamental articles mention 
the Lord s Supper (1 Cor. xv. 6 ; Heb. vi. 2 ; 1 John iv. 2), there 
can be no doubt that its omission must be explained in some other 
way. Its specific character is the enjoying Christ, which (leavin^ 
out of sight the external act of the Lord s Supper) belongs also to 
faith. (See on John vi. 40, 47, 54.) The elg Kvpiog, pia -rriang, one 
Lord, one faith, accordingly, includes also the participation of the 
Lord in the Lord s Supper ; i. e., as faith is not the fides quce credi- 
tur (in which sense it surely included all the rest of the points 
named), but the fides qua creditur, so also the Lord is mentioned, 
not merely as known outwardly, but as possessed inwardly, by man. 

But according to the preceding exposition (ii. 11-18) there ap 
peared as the leading idea, which brings Paul to this discussion of 
the unity of faith, the equal right of the Gentiles as of the Jews to 
an entrance into the kingdom of God. That Paul here too again 
addresses himself immediately to the Gentile Christians is shewn by 
ver. 1 compared with ver. 17. We can accordingly understand this 
description (ver. 4-6) also in the meaning of the apostle only thus : 
" Gentiles, like Jews, have but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
one God." Havrw, therefore, must be taken, not as neuter, but 
as masculine. Whilst the Jews considered God as their Father 
exclusively, and not the Father of the Gentiles also, Paul calls him 
-narrip ndvruv, the Father of all. But of course, then also, in the 
last words of ver. 6, o km ndvruv adi did -ndvruv ndi iv -ndac can be 
taken only as masculine. The MSS. D.E.F.G. add r^uv to -rrdai, 
which is a perfectly correct interpretation, but has no claim to 
be received into the text. Finally, we became acquainted, as far 
back as Eom. xi. 36, with this mode of designation, which represents 
God in his various relations to his creatures by means of various 
prepositions, as Lord over all, and the origin ivhence they arise, as 
the instrument through which they are, as the element in which, 
and the object for which they exist, as the simplest expression of 
the relation of the respective persons in the Holy Trinity. 

y er> 7. B u t with this representation of objective unity Paul now 
contrasts the difference of subjective position. True, all believers 
are one spirit and one body, have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
one Father ; but the gifts of each are variously distributed, accord 
ing to the measure of the gift of Christ. In what way they are va 
riously distributed, verse 11 details at greater length, and verse 16 
more accurately tells us how, by that very variety, the increase of 
the church to an articulated organism becomes possible. But here 
stress is especially to be laid on the ivl iicdoTu wtiv, to each one of 
us, which is repeated ver. 16. This referred to the apostle s main 

96 EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 

idea, the relation of the Gentiles and the Jews in the church is to 
be so taken as to express " Each, even the lowest, has his talent, 
and serves in his part the whole, therefore so the Gentiles ; if they 
are not called to the greatest ministry (as, for example, Gentiles 
could not be chosen for apostles), still Christ has obtained gifts even 
for them." 

Vers. 8-10. But now, instead of immediately describing the 
different gifts themselves more accurately, and so, calling on each 
well to fill his place in the great whole, Paul introduces a series of ideas, 
which is not only difficult in itself, but, through the way in which 
it is connected with what precedes and follows belongs to the obscur 
est passages of the New Testament, to the proper crucibus interpre- 
tum, and has hence been subjected to the most discrepant interpre 
tations. If we, first of all, consider the passage generally, as to the 
manner of its insertion into the body of the discourse, it seems alto 
gether unadvisable to separate it as a purely incidental and subordi 
nate passage, by brackets, from what precedes and follows. For, 
apart from the consideration that it should always be our last resource, 
to charge the author with having introduced into a discourse which 
is strictly progressive, something entirely heterogeneous, and void 
of connexion, here the Sio in ver. 8, and the nal avrbg t?de in ver. 
11 (which refers back to the avrog Ion not 6 dvaftdg), mark so decid 
edly the writer s intention to insert vers. 8-10 in the context, that 
the interpreter must rather look for the fault in himself., ^ ne cannot 
point out the connecting threads, than in his author. Accordingly, 
if we start with the supposition that Paul intended to make here no 
far-fetched, nor even barely incidental remark, but proceeds strictly 
in his argumentation, the first question that arises is : what does 
Paul want to prove by the citation ; what does the fob XKJKL scil. ?/ 
ypa0??, refer to ? Since there occur in the quotation the words duice 
66j.iara rolq dvGpunoig, he gave gifts to men, and it was said in ver. 7: 
" to each one of us was given grace," it is most natural to say : it 
is not Paul s primary object in the quotation to represent Christ as 
the dispenser of the gifts, but to prove from the Old Testament it 
self the universality of the gifts of Christ, and therefore the equal 
right of the Gentiles ; he has, by his redemption, bestowed gifts, 
not on these persons or those, not on the Jews alone, but on me 
as such, on the human race. The stress would thus have to be 
laid on the last word, rolg dvdpu-rroig, not on t dw/ce 66/j.ara, It is true, 
F.G. read iv before rolg } but that reading can make no claim to re- 

* Harless gives (p. 362) as the sense of the passage according to the purpose of Paul, 
" The identity of the God of the Psalm with Christ, from which the way m which Christ 
leads his follower whither he will, follows, as an ordinance previously intimated and de 
termined on by God" (vers. 10, 11). I confess I don t see how Christ s humiliation and 
ascension to fulfil all things can be connected with the above train of ideas. 

EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 97 

ception ; it is merely taken from the LXX., of the character of 
whose text we shall speak more in detail presently. The other dif 
ficulties which we find in the quotation are, it is true, considerable, 
but have nothing to do with the main difficulty in this passage, the 
connexion with the context ; ver. 8 suits it veiy well. Let us first 
treat of those particular stumbling-blocks which result from the 
form of the quotation ere we pass to the discussion of what follows. 
The passage Ps. Ixviii. 19 (according to the Septuagint Ps. Ixvii. 
19) is taken from a poem, in which Jehovah, the God of Israel, who 
went forth before the people in the wilderness (ver. 8), is described 
as victor over all his enemies. Although Ps. Ixviii. is no direct 
prophecy of Christ, still, according to this purport of it, its typical 
allusion to the Redeemer was obvious, since it was the God of Is 
rael, the Son of God, the Revealer of the hidden Father, who became 
man in Christ, and completed the Divine victory in the work of 
atonement. The assumption, therefore, that we have here not a 
quotation from the Psalm, but one from an unknown Christian 
hymn, which Storr and Flatt proposed, is plainly quite inadmissible, 
and the mere result of the difficulty of adjusting the divergence in 
the quotation from b9th the original text and the LXX. That is 
to say, it seems surprising that the first ivords, indeed, of the quo 
tation, dvafidg elg vijjof; yxnahu-evoev (f r which A. and some MSS. 
of less importance read ^^a/twrevfraf, after the LXX.) alxnaXuaiav, 
harmonize exactly with the LXX. and the original text ; but the 
very words, which are decisive for the carrying on of the connexion, 
viz., zduKe 66fj,ara rolg dvOpu-oig, deviate from the Hebrew text, and 
from the LXX. That is to say, those first words describe, in an 
Oxymoron, our redemption by Christ, which appears completed by 
his ascending on high (dvafiaivew tig ttyof = en*^ r&s) ; but the 
context of the passage speaks not of redemption through Christ, but 
of the gifts of Christ, which he has brought to mankind. It is 
indeed, therefore, in reference to what precedes, only a subordinate 
thought, that the bestowing gifts by Christ is connected with the 
completion of redemption through the return of the Son to the Fa 
ther ; but we shall see in the sequel of the interpretation that Paul 
knows how to use it skilfully for his chief object in what follows. 
(For the rest, see on this connexion between the perfecting of 
Christ and his work with the gifts of the Spirit, John vii. 39, xiv. 12, 
xvi. 17, and the remarks on those passages in the Comm.) But 
now as to the words which differ in the second half of the quotation, 
they run thus in the Hebrew : tnxa n-5Pi pi-jp_V, i. e. } " thou hast 
taken gifts among men ;" the LXX. give it : 4Ao0e? <%ara iv dvOpu- 
Ttoig (for which some MSS. read dvBp^u}. At first sight there cer 
tainly seems to exist here not merely a difference from the apostle s 
edw/ce dofj-ara ~ol<; dvOpuTroig, but a complete contradiction- Whilst 
VOL. V. 7 


Paul talks of giving, the Hebrew speaks of taking. This contradic 
tion seemed so insurmountable to Whiston, that he made the naive 
proposal to alter the Hebrew text according to the quotation of 
Paul. However, on closer consideration, there is no need either of 
such monstrous assumptions, or even of milder expedients, as, e. g., 
that Paul arbitrarily altered the second half of the quotation ac 
cording to his views, or undesignedly, in citing from memory, missed 
the sense. Paul rather quotes the words not according to their 
letter, but their spirit. The language of the Psalmist : " Thou 
hast taken to thyself gifts among men," means merely : " thou 
hast chosen to thyself the redeemed for sacrifices." But, whom 
soever God chooses for himself for a sacrifice, i. e. } for an instru 
ment for his purposes, him he furnishes with the gifts which are 
necessary for the attainment of them ; and this aspect of the case 
Paul here, according to his purpose, makes most prominent. It was 
awkward to force on the word hj?^ by itself, the meaning of " to 
give ;" it is only through the context that taking can assume the 
form of giving. This one further feature only in the apostle s 
citation of the passage in the Psalm, might seem an arbitrary 
change, viz., that, instead of & ??, i. e., " among men," which points 
to some, he puts rolg dvOpunoig, i. e. : " all men," and to this very 
point, as we saw, the context led us as to the point of chief im 
portance in the quotation. But, on more accurate consideration, 
this deviation too produces no essential change in the idea. For 
when the Psalmist says, " Thou hast taken to thyself some among 
men as sacrifices," the expression refers to the chosen, therefore, 
according to Paul s meaning, to all members of the church, whethei 
Jews or Gentiles, just as we are to understand, in ver. 7, the " to 
each one of us was given" i. e. } to every member of the Christian 
community. But neither does the " gave gifts to men" express 
anything else. These words do not mean to assert that all men 
must be redeemed, and, as redeemed men, receive gifts, but all can 
be redeemed and receive gifts of grace ; therefore the difference be 
tween Jews and Gentiles is abolished by Christ s leading captivity 
captive ; the Gentiles also can receive gifts. We may, therefore, 
consider the difficulties in ver. 8, both in itself and in its connexion 
with the preceding verse as resolved ; for the more accurate deter 
mining of the alxnaktxria, which still remains, can only be given as 
a sequel to the interpretation of ver. 9 ; we here, for the present, 
content ourselves with the general interpretation, "objects of re 
demption, prisoners." 

Now, in verse 9, the idea : TO 6e dve(3r) ri eanv, d p/j on nai 
Karefiiij i. e., " what does the ascension mean other than that he that 
ascended has also descended," is in itself entirely intelligible. That 
is to say, though in the case of men it does not indeed follow from the 

EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 99 

dvcftatveiv that a na-apaiveiv preceded, but certainly in the case of the 
God who dwells in heaven if it is said : " God ascends," it necessa 
rily follows thence that he has previously descended. But what in 
duces Paul to select from the quotation this idea of the ascension 
and to follow it up through two verses, since it certainly belongs to 
that part of the quotation which we were obliged to designate as 
not containing the main thread of the line of argument ? We should 
have expected that the words " gave gifts to men" would form the 
basis of the more extended deduction. On the answer to this 
question depends greatly the understanding of this entire diffi 
cult passage ; but this cannot be derived from the terms " ascend" 
and " descend" alone, but only from the fuller light thrown upon 
them by vnepdvu rcdvruv r&v ovpav&v, and dg rd Kar^repa TTJS y?/f . 
Since this latter expression again determines the former, we need 
only examine more closely the import of the formula ra Karurepa 
T?/? y/fc. (Lachmann has still preserved [ifyr] in the text, but, as 
it is wanting in B.E.F.G., and the addition of it is easily explained, 
its omission with difficulty, we view it with the best later interpre 
ters as a gloss, which however is entirely true to the sense. The 
np&rov before elg has been erased from the text ever since Mill and 
Bengel by all the better critics.) Since the phrase is not found 
again in the New Testament, we are in regard to it obliged to 
have recourse to the Old Testament, where the expression yt n TPitn 
in general is considered as answering to the one here. But in the 
three passages in which it occurs it has each time a different mean 
ing. In Ps. Ixiii. 19 it denotes the world of the dead, Sheol, and is 
rendered by the LXX. rd narurara rijs }%. In Ps. cxxxix. 15 it 
denotes the womb, and here too the LXX. translate it rd Karurara 
r?~ig y/fc. But in the third passage, Isaiah xliv. 23, it denotes the 
earth in opposition to heaven, and here the LXX. render it by %fe- 
Ma Ti\q ->%. In Ezekiel we find the kindred phrase : n vrmn ynt$ 
which is, however, constantly rendered by (3d6og or (3ddrj ri$ yT^ 
(compare Ezek. xxvi. 20, xxxii. 18, 24), as a designation of Sheol. 
On the other hand, Ezek. xxxi. 16, rrnnn y-s is rendered i\ y?) K.dru 
(ndrcj is wanting, however, in several MSS.), just as in Isaiah li. 6, 
fi^K y~.N is translated ? / >-// icdru. But in the formulas rr rnri n .a 
(Ps. Ixxxviii. 6, Lamen. iii. 55), rtjrmri V-^a, the LXX. have always 
preserved the /carwraro-, translating kditKog or adrjg itartirarog. The 
result of this comparison is, therefore, that the comparative form rd 
Karurepa does not occur in the Old Testament for the formula ninnn 
Y"?:? and similar modes of expression, but the superlative /carwrara. 
But even the latter, the superlative, is not used when mention is 
made of the earth absolutely in opposition to heaven (rd Oe^tha rfc 
y%, or i] Y t KTCJ, is used for it), but first of the place of the dead, 
Sheol, and of this indeed, predominantly, and secondly of the womb 

100 EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 

in the remarkable passage Ps. cxxxix. 15 (cxxxviii. 15). (In this 
latter passage the reading KV rolg Karurdru is found in some MSS. of 
the LXX. instead of KV -olg Karurdrotg. ) After this we can at 
once reject the interpretation of rd na-6repa rr^ yrjg of death (as 
Chrysostom, Theodoret, and (Ecumenius), or of the grave (accord 
ing to Beza and Baumgarten). Also to explain the phrase of 
the earth, SO that tcarafiaiveiv d$ ra Karurepa rrj$ yfy would denote 
the incarnation, which has so many and influential defenders, par 
ticularly Schottgen, Grotius, Storr, Winer, Harless, seems to have 
but slight recommendation. The passage in Acts ii. 19, which is 
appealed to, where 5 ovpavbg aw and TJ ytj KTW are contrasted, 
can, after what has been said, decide nothing as to our phrase : 
ra Ko/rcj-epa rrjg yrjg is different from r) yr\ /carw. To take the geni 
tive rrjg yr\q as genitivifs appositionis (see Winer s Gr. 59, 8), is 
indeed grammatically admissible, but is in this formula by no means 
established by Hellenistic usage ; the genitive in it rather denotes 
the locality in which the depths are, as the parallel (3ddog rtjg yfjs 
plainly shews. Karaftaiveiv, descend, is never used of Christ s incar 
nation ; nor will the interpretation of the comparative narurega 
from the comparison of earth with heaven bear inspection. For such 
a comparison is made in all the passages which are quoted, and even 
in Acts ii. 19, but we nowhere find the comparative ; the formula 
always runs : ?/ yrj itdru. There is also another difficulty which 
admits no natural solution, viz., that along with dvafiaivav there 
stands the corroborative phrase v-epdvu Trdvruv r&v ovpav&v, above 
all heavens, which manifestly answers as a strengthened form to the 
contrasted rd itarwrepa. A simple Karafiaiveiv dg rrjv yrjv would be 
put in opposition to the mere dvaflaiveiv dg rbv ovpavov (as in ver. 8 
stands dvapdg elg vijjog^ ; but as Paul heightens the dvaj3aiveiv elg 
vipog to dvafiaivEiv vrrepdvd) ndvruv r&v ovpav&v (a phrase explained 
by the well-known assumption of several heavenly regions, see at 2 
Cor. xii. 2), we have also the more emphatic rd narurepa rfjg yfjg in 
stead of the simple narafiaivEiv. Whilst the dvafiaiveiv vnepdvu ndv- 
ruv r&v avpav&v denotes not merely the being taken up into heaven 
(which is accorded to men too), but also the being set above all 
things that were made, the naOi&iv iv de^La Qeov iv rolg inovpavioig 
vrrepdvu xdorjs dp%7]g KOI l^ovoiag, K. r. /I., sitting at the right hand of 
God, etc. (see at i. 20), narafiatveiv dg rd Karurepa rjjg yrjg denotes 
the deepest depth answering to the highest height. As our Lord s 
death is wont to be named to denote the former, it is intelligible how 
our phrase could come to be explained of death, or ilia grave, against 
which, however, as we saw, is the use of the Hebrew formula. Im 
portant reasons, therefore, oppose our taking rd tcarureqa r-fjg yrjg = 
77 yri ndru. 

After this, if we consider, first, that interpretation, which (after 

EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 101 

Ps. cxxxix. (cxxxviii.) 15) understands our phrase ra Karurepa T% 
yfjg of the womb, a view proposed by Witsius and Calixtus there 
is certainly nothing in the mere language to forbid it. But the 
LXX. have again, also, Ps. cxxxviii. 15, ra ttarurara ; if there 
fore Paul had had that passage in mind, why should he not have 
retained the superlative ? The assertion, that he chose the com 
parative in order to intimate that he did not refer to Hades, hardly 
admits a defence. But the antithesis, which at once shocks our 
sense of propriety, viz., " to ascend far above all heavens," and " de 
scend into the womb," is without example, not only in Paul, but in 
the entire Scriptures. We need, therefore, very decisive arguments 
to warrant our obtruding it on Paul here ; but no such can be pro 
duced, as this interpretation lends no aid to the explanation of the 

There remains, then, assuming the identity of our phrase with 
the Hebrew parallels, only the interpretation, which supposes ra 
icartirepa rrj$ >% to denote Sheol, the world of the dead, which, 
after Jerome and Ambrose, the Koman Catholic interpreters espe 
cially, and among the Protestants, Calovius, Bengel, Kiickert, and 
others, have defended. To those accepting this interpretation it was 
natural to understand by al^iaXuaia (ver. 8) the souls liberated 
from Hades by Christ, and our passage was thus conceived to be a 
leading one, along with that 1 Pet. iii. 19, to prove Christ s descent 
into hell. Now much, no doubt, in vers. 8-10 is in favour of that 
assumption ; particularly, the usus loquendi of the Old Testament, 
as well in regard to narurepa ~7jg y?fc, as to Kara{3aiviv } which 
usually occurs of Hades (see the above-cited passages), and the 
contrast with t>7repavw -rrdvruv ovpav&v. But, on the other side, 
this interpretation also is subject to great difficulties. The com 
parative seems here still more objectionable than if interpreted 
absolutely of the earth ; for, first, the Old Testament has always 
the form ra itarurara of Sheol, and second, the nature of the case 
also seems to require the superlative,* inasmuch as Hades was con 
ceived aa in the depth of the earth, KV rq napdia rijg yjfc. (See 
Matth. xii. 40.) And again this interpretation utterly destroys 
the connexion. For, since the subject of ver. 7 was the commu 
nication of the Holy Spirit to the living (evl kKdary ?J^wv), how 
can the 6tb Aeyei introduce a connexion between that idea and those 
that had been delivered from Hades by Christ, consequently the 
dead ? 

Thus the number of possible interpretations seems exhausted, it 
we assume the identity of the ra Karurepa rfy y?/? with tie Hebrew 

* The original (followed by the English translation) has, evidently by a mere slip of 
the pen, " plural," which makes nonsense. The editor has without hesitation substituted 
the word " superlative." [K. 

102 EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 

And as no interpretation which starts with that hypo 
thesis is without difficulty, let us for a moment consider the expres 
sion rd Ka~uTepa -ijg -yjjg without reference to the Hebrew phrase. 
For the unwonted comparative might seem to argue the indepen 
dence of our formula. Laying stress upon this, we might find in 
itarwrepa pt-prj an antithesis to the dvurepiKa pepr) (cf. Acts xix. 1). 
The former denote the low tracts of country lying on the sea shore, 
and the latter the higher inland regions. (See Wetstein s New 
Testament, vol. ii. p. 579.) This might be symbolically referred to 
the regions inhabited by Gentiles, in accordance with that use of 
lan<> ua< r e which regards Jerusalem and Mount Sion with the Tern- 

o o o 

pie, not so much as a physical, but as a moral height, to which they 
ascend from all sides. This idea of a descent to the most forsaken 
of the human race would certainly accord well with the entire con 
text ; for we saw in the very beginning of the exposition of this pas 
sage, that Paul has here again before his eyes the contrast between 
Jews and Gentiles, and wishes to mark the fact that Christ obtained 
those gifts too. But how can it be said that the Redeemer descended 
to the Gentiles ? It w r ould be clearly arbitrary to refer this to the 
half-Gentile Galilee, or to the fact that Christ was preached by the 
apostles among the Gentiles ; the aa-afiaivuv here, equally with the 
dvafiaiveiv, must be taken necessarily as a personal act of Christ s. 
Here, therefore, we find no escape from our difficulty, and come to 
the conclusion, that no stress can be laid on the comparative form, 
and that the identity of our formula with y~* rr.snhri is to be main 
tained. Since the meaning of this in the translation nar^rara rijg 
yris according to the LXX., which Paul had here too, as usual, be 
fore his eyes, is constantly Hades, we must adhere to this meaning. 
In our previous comment on that explanation of the phrase w r hich 
refers it to Hades, our chief difficulty lay in pointing out any fitting 
connexion. But this interruption of the connexion is occasioned not 
so much by the term " Hades," as by that interpretation of the pre 
ceding ai%/za/lai a, which stands in connexion with it, and which 
seems thus naturally understood of the souls in Hades. The idea 
of ver. 9 : "now that he ascended, what is it but that he (the per 
son ascending) also descended first into Hades ?" stands in no dis 
turbing connexion, with the context ; the addition " into Hades" 
merely strengthens the idea of the narafiaiveiv , like the addition 
" down to the earth," also, according to the other interpretation. 
If, therefore, we interpret al^a^aia of men upon earth (as being 
fettered by sin, and at bottom by the prince of this world), and 
particularly of the Gentile world as lying prominently in the bonds 
of darkness, the obstacle to interpreting our passage of Hades, viz., 
that it interrupts the connexion, is removed. True, by this inter 
pretation the passage loses its dogmatical importance ; it only teaches 

EPHESIANS IV. 8-10. 103 

that Christ went into Hades, but gives no intimation that he re 
deemed the prisoners in Hades. The going to Hades is the natural 
consequence of the real death of our Lord ; that may, therefore, he 
concluded from the nature of death ; hut that he wrought amono- 
the dead as the Kedeemer, is a new doctrine for which 1 Pet. iii. 10 
is our only remaining authority. But if we thus consider the de 
scent into Hades as the fulfilment of death, then, too, the objection 
that the KarafiaivELv d<; rd /carojrepa -?fc y/fc forms no antithesis to the 
dvafiaiveiv vnspdvG) -ndvruv r&v ovpavtiv, on the ground that Christ s 
descent into Hell did not belong to the state of abasement but to 
that of exaltation, loses all its force. For here the subject is not 
primarily the two states and their line of demarcation, but merely 
the contrast of the dveftrj and Kare/fy, for which reason also the addi 
tion dq rd Karurepa -//$ yf/? is not at all to be considered as a neces 
sary point in the train of argument, but merely as adding force to 
the Ka-Kf3rj. If KarKJ3r] stood alone, its import would be precisely the 
same as with the addition. This contrast of dv^rj and /cart/3?/, how 
ever, is meant to shew that the same Lord who has power over all 
has not shrunk from descending to the lowest depths, and that, too, 
for the purpose of filling everything with his gracious presence, and 
consequently with his gifts also ; not merely the Jews, but the 
Gentiles also. Thus the double av-6^ in vers. 10, 11, is explained, 
and the transition to the distribution of the gifts (ver. 11) of 
which Paul had already begun to speak in ver. 7. Although, 
therefore, the passage still remains an exceedingly difficult one, we 
may yet hope that we. have essentially solved its obscure points, 
and especially shewn the connexion of vers. 8-10 with the entire 
train of argument. To facilitate a survey of the result of our 
interpretation, we subjoin a paraphrastic translation of the entire 
passage. " The church is one body and one spirit ; she has one 
Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father (ver. 6). But 
grace is not uniformly distributed among believers. It is given, it 
is true, to each of us, Gentiles as well as Jews, but according to the 
measure of the gift of Christ, to one more, to another less (ver. 7). 
Therefore, too, say the Scriptures : He has by ascending up on high 
redeemed the captives (especially the Gentiles) and given gifts unto 
all men (ver. 8). But the ascension necessarily presupposes (in 
Christ the Son of God) a descent, i. e., a partaking of the misery of 
those fettered by sin even unto death, i. e., even unto the depths of 
Hades (ver. 9). He that descended is himself also he who ascended 
up far above all heavens and rules over all the powers of the uni 
verse, in order to fill all things with his power and to give gifts unto 
each (Gentiles as well as Jews) according to the capacity and the 
calling of each (ver. 10). He himself has made some apostles, 
others prophets/ etc. Thus then the question proposed above, why 

104 . EPHESIANS IV. 11. 

Paul connects ver. 9 with dvsfir), and not with tduite do^ara rolg dv 
Opu-oic, which seems to contain the leading idea, meets with its 
answer. This is done because Paul wishes by the avkfiri and na~K$T] 
to carry out the idea, to him specially important, of the totality 
which Christ governs, in order thus to make it evident that he 
obtained his gifts for all. With this finally appears also the ad 
monitory reference in the passage. Each (according to ver. 2) is to 
walk with lowliness and meekness ; the Gentiles are not to overvalue 
themselves, nor, on the other hand, are the Jews to despise the Gen 
tiles. Christ is the example of true lowliness. He, the highest, de 
scended to the lowest deeps in order to fill all things with his life. 
According to this, Phil. ii. 5, seq., appears very similar, where also 
Christ is set up as a type of humility, in that he humbled himself, 
but was on that account exalted by God, so that all in heaven, in 
earth, and under the earth adore him. Here, therefore, allusion is 
made to Hades too, to complete the idea of universality. 

Ver. 11. In the following enumeration the gifts give way 
to the offices for which the gifts qualify, whereas in the parallel 
passage, 1 Cor. xii. 28, it was the contrary. (See the remarks 
on Horn. xii. 6, seq. ; 1 Cor. xii. 28.) The apostles differ from the 
prophets, in that (see on the import of Trpotirj-rig at 1 Cor. xiv. 1) 
while the apostles, as such, are, it is true, prophets, the prophets, 
as such, are not conversely apostles. This latter expression is 
to be taken here in its most special sense as denoting the 
Twelve, along with Paul. It is finally self-evident that the fancy 
of the Irvingites, that there must be always apostles and prophets 
in the church, has absolutely no foundation in Scripture ; just as 
little do the apostles correspond to the later bishops. The evayye- 
Aio-ai are such teachers as, journeying about, laboured for the wider 
extension of the gospel, as Theodoret already correctly interprets ol 
xepuov-eg KKJjpvrrov. (See Eusebii H. E. iii. 37, v. 10.) On the 
other hand, the ^roifiKvec, pastors, and diddaKakoi, teach ers, are such 
teachers as are permanently settled with one church ; in the 
former administrative power is predominant, in the latter the di 
dactic office, as in 1 Cor. xii. 28 Kv(3epvTjaig is distinguished from 
didaoKaXia. This passage, therefore, is in no way fitted to furnish 
data for the organization of churches in the first ages ; the two latter 
expressions alone relate to it. (See Kothe on the Church, Witten 
berg, 1837, p. 257.) ("E&o/ce, for which Zdero stands in 1 Cor. 
xii. 28, answers to the Hebrew itjs.) It might now seem difficult 
that in ver. 11 the above entirely general idea, " to each of us is 
grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (ver. 7), 
here appears restricted to teachers alone, as if no gift whatever 
were distributed to laymen. But, first, all the expressions are not 
designations of offices in the church ; the gift of prophecy, like 

EPHESIANS IV. 12, 13. 105 

other charismata, laymen too could have ; and, secondly, some <nfts 
only are here named, instead of all. 1 Cor. xii. shews that there 
were many more. Ver. 16 shews clearly that Paul here speaks not 
to teachers only, but to all Christians without exception. 

Ver. 12. The Karaprtanbg r&v dyiuv, perfecting of the saints, is 
mentioned by Paul as the object of this various distribution of gifts. 
To connect, with Riickert, the elg KQJOV diaitoviag with this, is for 
bidden by the invariable use of dianovia for " office in the church " 
and Paul cannot now, after dwelling in ver. 11 on the variety of the 
gifts, mean to assert a general preparation for the office of teacher. 
The two clauses, d<; epyov diaKoviag,for the ivork of the ministry, and 
elg olK.odoiJ.rjv rov aufj,arog rov Xpiorov, for the edifying of the body 
of Christ, rather involve the two elements in the general phrase 
" perfecting of the saints." "Epyov diaKoviag alludes to the exercise 
of the office of teacher, and oltcodopj to its influence in the Chris 
tian body. The words then might be thus paraphrased : for the 
perfecting of the saints, partly of those furnished with gifts of 
teaching for discharging the office of teacher, partly with regard to 
the hearers, for the edification of the church. For, though the 
teachers themselves, in one point of view, belong also to the body of 
Christ, yet it is they again who promote the edification of the 
churches. (The form naraoriotLoq is found in the New Testament 
only here ; the synonymous Kardpnoig, however, occurs 2 Cor. 
xiii. 9.) 

Ver. 13. But the object of the perfecting of the saints is fur 
ther that all may come to the unity of faith, and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God. The first person of the verb (Karavrrja^iev^), with 
the article before -ndvre^, points to the fact that Paul includes him 
self in the body of those who are engaged in the development of the 
life of the church. This is no mere figure of speech ; Phil. iii. 13 
plainly shews that Paul knew his individual life to be not yet per 
fected ; he pressed towards the mark if he might lay hold on it. 
The express mention of the entire body, no doubt, again refers, ac 
cording to vers. 7 and 16, to the putting on a level of G-entiles and 
Jews ; the former too, Paul means to say, take their place in the 
great whole ; they too are to grow up unto perfection. But it is 
asked, what growth is here mentioned ; that of individuals in them 
selves, or of the body of believers ? Of the growth of both together, 
for, along with the separate members, the whole church also grows 
up from childhood through youth to manhood (1 John ii. 13, seq.). 
But does Paul refer further to a perfecting of individuals and of the 
whole here below, or in the coming world ? Paul doubtless by no 
means thought of the two in contrast. To him the church is a unity, 
constituted alike of those living on earth, and those who died in the 
faith. That body forms itself into a compact organic whole, in 

106 EPHESIANS IV. 13. 

which each has to occupy his place ; if he has attained it, then also 
the pK-pov ?]kiKia<; exists for him. The absolute revelation of the 
church, therefore, in full maturity^ occurs, indeed only in the king 
dom of God ; but as Paul at that time encouraged his contempora 
ries, so every teacher can in everyage encourage his on their part to 
strive on to the perfect manhood of Christ ; and the true strivers of 
every generation actually attain on earth this their mark, according 
to their respective calling and talent. Were not such the meaning 
of Paul s language, the unity of faith could scarcely receive such 
stress, since in the other world faith has passed into vision. 

But it seems still a singular feature of our passage that the goal 
at which all are to arrive, is designated as the unity of faith and 
of the knowledge of the Son of God (Kvorqg r7jg mareu^ nal r^ Im- 
yvuoeug rov vlov rov Qeov). It would seem that faith and the knowl 
edge of the Son of God is the beginning of the life of faith, not the 
highest scope of its development ; as it was indeed actually said, 
even in ver. 3, " that all might preserve the unity of the Spirit (they 
were already, therefore, in that unity), because the church is one 
body and one Spirit, has one Lord, one faith," etc. Even the coup 
ling of faith and knowledge together is singular ; for Paul might 
well be supposed to say : " until we, from faith as a starting-point, 
press forward to knowledge," in which case the tmyvuoig would ap 
pear as an advance from faith as a basis ; but their parallel juxta 
position presents the unity of the faith as the goal, while it seems 
but the beginning of the development in regeneration. This con 
siderable difficulty might seem to admit the following resolution. 
Either 1, a stress might be laid on ol Trdvreg, in the sense that the 
advance consists in the circumstance that all arrive at the point to 
which many have already attained. But the first person of the verb 
(by which, as we have seen, Paul includes himself, and consequently 
all the apostles, among those who are to arrive at the unity of the 
faith and knowledge) forbids that interpretation. Or 2, a stress 
might be laid upon ivor^, unity ; true, all Christians, as such, have 
faith and the knowledge of Christ, but their task is to attain to unity 
in them. That might mean, in the first place, " that they may all 
attain to the same faith, the same knowledge ;" but that identity 
is surely already, in ver. 2, presupposed to exist in his readers : 
he that has not the right faith and the right knowledge has really 
none at all at bottom. Secondly, however, the stress laid on the 
unity of faith and knowledge might also be taken so that what each 
has in himself is to melt away into an organic unity, in the follow 
ing sense : " that all in faith and knowledge (which are presup 
posed) may attain to unity." Then the advance would consist in 
the growing up of individuals into a mutually sustaining unity. 
But if that were the meaning of the words!, KV ry 7rco-ei } in the faith. 

EPHESIANS IV. 13. 107 

would be put instead of " unity of the faith," and in what full >ws 
el$ Zva dvBpuTTov reAetov, into one perfect man, must necessarily have 
been put, as at ii. 15. Add to this that the idea does not corre 
spond with the truth in the development of the church ; believers 
do not stand, first of all, each for himself in faith and knowledge 
and then grow up in the progress of reciprocal development unto 
unity ; but each is immediately in the new birth born as a li vino- 
grown member into the unity of the whole. Or 3, and lastly, & a 
stress might be laid on 6 vibg -ov Qeov, the Son of God, so that it 
would be, not the unity of faith and knowledge in general, but that 
of the Son of God, which was to be attained. Certainly Paul uses 
the name "the Son of God" but seldom, and where he does it is em 
phatically of the Divine nature of Christ. (See at 2 Cor. i. 19 
Gal. ii. 20.) If then we consider how Paul, in the Epistle to the 
Colossians of the same date (i. 16, seq.), zealously defends the Di 
vine nature of Christ our Lord against false teachers, we might fancy 
ourselves obliged to assume here a polemical allusion, as that Paul 
sees the development in the fact that all have overcome Ebionitish 
and Arian representations of Christ. But we have already seen in 
the Introduction (and shall immediately, at ver. 14, come back to 
it), that polemical references nowhere appear in the Epistle to the 
Ephesians ; we can the less recognize them in this passage, that it 
treats solely of the development of the church in itself in the total 
ity of her members, and not of contrasts. Only this must be con 
ceded, that here too the leading idea of the whole epistle, viz., that 
the Gentiles have, equally with the Jews, part in the kingdom of 
God, floats before Paul s mind in such a way that he ascribes to the 
Gentile Christians also a share in the development of the church. 
Besides, by thus laying a stress upon vibg r. 0., it would seem that 
Ebionitish and Arian errors were necessary in the beginning of 
Christian life, and could only be gradually surmounted ; a represen 
tation which certainly cannot be justified as Scriptural. 

The only correct interpretation of this very difficult passage is, 
I am convinced, that which understands the phrase rj KVOTW -?/$ ma- 
reug teal rijg KTtiyvuoeug ~ov viov rov Qeov } unity of the faith y etc., not 
as involving two different things, viz., first the unity of the faith, 
and, secondly, the unity, of knowledge (in which acceptation the 
passage is quite inconsistent with all that the Scriptures elsewhere 
teach as to the beginning of the life of faith, and the mode of its de 
velopment), but as implying only one unity, viz., that which takes 
place between faith and knowledge. The progress in development 
of which Paul here speaks consists in the circumstance that faith and 
knowledge become one, i. e., that faith, with which the Christian life 
begins, is really exalted to knowledge. It is true, no doubt, that, 
at the very beginning even of regeneration, faith does not exist with- 

108 EPHESIANS IV. 13. 

out knowledge ; but that knowledge, which exists together with 
faith, is that knowledge by implication which is eternal life itself 
(John xvii. 3). But knowledge as unfolded, which has appropri 
ated to itself the total substance of faith, is the fruit only of com 
plete spiritual development. (See on the relation between the de 
veloped and the undeveloped gnosis, as also between the charismatic 
and non-charismatic gnosis, the Comni. at 1 Cor. xii. 7, seq., xiii. 9.) 
This view of our passage brings out the parallel passage, 1 John ii. 
13, seq., in the plainest light ; that is to say, here too the knowledge 
of him who was from the beginning, i. e., Christ, is represented as 
the characteristic of fatherhood, i. e. } of manhood in Christ. (See 
the details in the Comm. ad h. 1. Liicke erroneously takes the 
terms, fathers, young men, children, in a physical sense ; they plainly 
denote stages of spiritual development. The physical periods of life, 
as such, have no influence on our relation to the Gospel ; an old 
man may be a child in Christ ; a youth may be a man in the Lord.) 
In Col. iii. 10, too, the Emyvuau; appears as the final scope of re 
newal in the image of the Creator. In this is involved the thought 
that like only recognizes like ; thus God recognizes only the soul that 
has been made Divine. But knowledge is here especially referred 
to the Son of God, because in Christ all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge lie shut up (Col. ii. 3), so that he who knows him 
knows all (1 John ii. 27). But how this comprehensive knowledge 
is related to partial knowledge (in /itpovg yivuaiceiv), and how in the 
perfected yvtiou; here below the foundation of the Christian life 
(the mang) is never done away, has been already detailed at 1 Cor. 
xiii. 9. Finally, the truth of that striving to attain to the unity of 
faith and of knowledge which pervades the whole history of the 
church s development, receives a complete confirmation through this 
apostolic passage. 

Lastly, the concluding words of ver. 13 characterize epexegetically 
the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Christ. The phrase 
V dvdpa Tt Aov, to a perfect man, denotes manhood, in which the 
idea of personality and of self-consciousness is completely expressed. 
(Te Aeto? is the opposite of vTprtof. See Heb. v. 13, 14.) This phrase 
is totally different from the e/f Sva naivbv dvOpunov (ii. 15), by which 
is denoted not a degree of development, but the union of what was 
before separate in humanity to a new spiritual unity in Christ. The 
dg dvdpa Ttteiov presupposes that unity, and starting from it the 
highest development of its living principle is striven after and at 
tained. Hence also it could not be V dvOpwov rekeiov, because dvrjp 
exactly expresses the idea of life developed to its full self-con 
sciousness. This idea is more accurately described by the following 
words : elg fierpov 7/At/aaf rov TTA^poi/xarof TOV Xpiarov, i. e., unto the 
measure of the age in which fulness dwells in us. HAm a here is, of 

EPHESIANS IV. 14. 109 

course, not bodily stature, but the degree 01 complete spiritual de 
velopment, thus = dvrjp reAof. But the phrase is more exactly 
determined by the rov TrA^pw/iarof TOW Xpmroi), which Holzhausen, 
Meier, and Harless correctly take in the sense above given. But 
here, too, as at i. 23, and iii. 19, there is great discrepancy among 
the interpreters in their understanding of the word TrAy/pwjua. The 
reference of the expression to the church, which Koppe and Storr 
defend, and which has even crept into some of the MSS., is here at 
all events quite inadmissible. We might rather take 7rA?/pa)jua rov 
Xpiarov as a circumlocution for Christ himself. The age of Christ 
would then be that climax of development which Christ himself at 
tained, the highest self-consciousness. But the other passages, in 
which -nvU/pw/m occurs, do not sustain this periphrastic use. We ad 
here, therefore, to the above interpretation of the words, which is in 
perfect accordance with the context. Elg r}X.iiciav alone would leave no 
doubt as to the sense of the passage ; the elg perpov misleads us into 
the idea of a comparison. But \iK-pov denotes here " the full mea 
sure, ? . e., ripeness/ as we find in Homer, IIKTQOV ifi^g, " the ripeness 
of youth." See Passow s Lex. ad v. (On pexP 1 - without dv see 
Hartung s Doctrine of the Particles, vol. ii., p. 291, seq. Lobeck s 
Phrynichus, p. 14, seq.) 

Ver. 14. To the positive representation of Christian develop 
ment there is next adjoined, negatively, that which must no longer be. 
In the perfected man, who has attained the unity of the faith and 
of knowledge, there is fixedness and steadiness of conviction ; unde 
veloped v^-toi, bales, are exposed to waverings of every kind ; each 
wind of doctrine moves them. We see clearly here that the i-niyvw- 
oi<; is no practical one, as Meier erroneously assumes, but theoretical 
insight into the faith. Certainly true knowledge always rests on 
the practicaLbasis of sauctification, but it is itself not merely prac 
tical. This passage now might in fact awaken the suspicion (see 
also at v. 6) that false doctrine had surely spread among the churches 
to which Paul addresses this epistle ; yet Paul is manifestly not 
giving information about the actual state of his readers ; he merely 
describes quite objectively the nature of the vijmoi wherever they 
may be. It can at most be here said that Paul foresaw that 
Ephesus and the neighbouring churches would not be spared by 
false teachers any more than other churches, and therefore gave the 
exhortation to strive after the unity of the faith and of knowledge, 
in order to be able to withstand their temptations. When Paul 
wrote it was still, therefore, in Ephesus as at the time of his dis 
course to the Ephesian presbyters (Acts xx. 29, 30), according to 
which Paul prophesied : elaK^evaov-ai Xvnoi ftapelg elg v/j.dg } p) (j>eiS6- 
pevoi TOV TTOifiviov, not e v^tiv avr&v dvaorrjaovrat, dvdpeg hakovvreg 
, there will come in grievous wolves, etc. Lastly, the con- 

110 EPHESIANS IV. 15. 

eluding words of ver. 14 designate the element in which the false 
doctrine, which confuses the believer, consists (and whence, too, it 
therefore proceeds), together with the way in which it is wont to be 
spread by the false teachers. (Kkvduvi&odai is found in the New 
Testament only here. " To be moved by waves" is figuratively " to 
be brought into an unquiet agitation of mind/ the opposite of 
Trkrjpofopia, The second expression here is, we may suppose, taken 
from a ship which the winds toss about. Kvfteia, playing at dice, 
was used by the Kabbis too in the form t^p [see Buxtorf s Lex. 
Talm., p. 1984], and that, too, in the figurative sense, "deceit, 
fraud," allied to Ttavovpyia. Meflodeta rijg TrMvqg denotes the pre 
meditated plan which the false teachers pursue in their decep 
tion. [See vi. 11.] The addition rov 6ia[36/(,ov has crept into the 
text here out of that passage, and is to be erased according to the 
critical authorities. The preposition rrpog points to the circumstance 
that it is the -navovpyia which fits them for the nedodeia rfjs 7rXdvr)g.) 

Ver. 15. It is clear that what follows is grammatically depen 
dent on Iva &[j,v } K. r. A., in ver. 14. " That we may no longer be 
children who let themselves be moved by every wind of doctrine, but 
may grow in all relations up into the body of Christ." We cannot be 
surprised that the apostle here speaks of growing, while in ver. 13 the 
state of perfect growth, of manhood, was already described ; for in 
ver. 13 manhood was spoken of not as a state already attained, but as 
one yet to be attained. Further, as to the details in ver. 15, we may 
consider the usual construction dtydevov-eg iv dyd-xy as sufficiently re 
futed. Ahqdeveiv, " to be, walk, in the truth," forms the antithesis to 
the preceding iv Kvfida, iv iravovgyia dvai, to be in craft. But with 
this iv dyd-ny does not harmonize, for instance in the acceptation, 
" to teach the truth in a loving, gentle temper," as these words are 
usually taken ; in opposition to which is also the circumstance that 
dkrjdsveiv means not " to teach the truth," but " to be in the truth/ 
On the other hand, in connexion with av^rjoup,ev } iv dydirq affords 
a very beautiful sense, inasmuch as love is the root of all spiritual 
growth, whence we read also, ver. 16, el$ olnodoftfjv iavrov iv dydrry. 
But the growth is to be an every-sided one, wherefore Paul adds rd 
ndvra. The article is sufficiently explained by the reference of the 
growth to the Christian ideal, "to grow in all those things in which 
the Christian must advance." The development of the regenerate 
man is, lastly, no isolated one, proceeding in him alone, but one 
which completes itself in the articulated connexion of the individual 
with the Avhole, and especially with Christ, the head of the entire 
organism of the church. This sort of growth is expressed by avi-d- 
veiv els av-ov, og ianv i] /c0<z/l?/. As in ver. 16, immediately follow 
ing, Christ is by the t- ov.from whom, represented as the source 
whence all growth takes its first impulse and nourishment, so here 


it is the goal to which the act of growing leads. Inasmuch as "be 
lievers are to be conceived as already existing in Christ, KV aurw also 
might have stood here. 

Ver. 16. Proceeding from Christ as the head, the growth of 
the whole body into a compact structure is at length accom 
plished, while each according to the measure of his talents and 
powers (ver. 7) fills his place. The metaphor, which compares the 
church to a body, has already been considered at 1 Cor. xii. 14, seq., 
where it is treated especially in detail. Col. ii. 19 is however a 
special parallel passage for this one. Instead of the turn : i$ov -nav 
TO CTco/m TTJV avfyaiv TOV G&[iaToc; (I. e., KCLVTOV) ~otl~ai } it is there 
(Col. ii. 19) : t ov ndv rb otijj,a avfri TT)V avfyoiv TOV Qsov. (See on 
the form av&i at Eph. ii. 21. The genitive TOV Qeov is correctly 
taken by Bohmer not as designating the superlative, but as an ex 
pression of the truth that the growth of the church proceeds from 
God, and not peradventure from inferior powers, the angels, as the 
Colossian false teachers thought.) The nature of the body is fur 
ther more accurately described by the epithets ovvapp,okoyovp,evov real 
ov(*f3ipaZ6fJtev<jw, the former of which has occurred already ii. 21, the 
latter is found Col. ii. 2, 19, in the same meaning, whereas at Acts 
ix. 22, xvi. 10 ; 1 Cor. ii. 16, it is used in a figurative sense. The 
interarticulation of the members, and the firm establishment of the 
structure thence arising, is expressed in these epithets. But the 
somewhat obscure addition : did ndarjc; a<?% T?jg em%opr)ylag, is more 
exactly determined by the words, Col. ii. 19, did T&V dcfr&v KOI awSea- 
\UAV ETTixoprjyovfievov, ministered to by joints and ligaments. Joints 
and ligaments unite the limbs of the body; thus too the spiritual body 
of the church is joined together by all the forms of union of its indi 
vidual members with one another. ETr^op^yeZv means (see at Gal. 
iii. 5) " to bestow richly, to proffer," here of course with reference 
to the higher powers of the Spirit, which fill the church and di 
rect her development. But this meaning seems more suitable in 
Col ii. 19, than in this passage. The combination d^rj Tijg fai- 
XOfjrjyias has already induced the Greek Fathers of the church to 
take d(j)ij in the sense (from drrTeoOai) of alodiiaig, as if the meaning 
were : " through all perception of the proffering (and co-operation) 
of the Holy Ghost." But this meaning of d(prj is discountenanced 
here both by the parallel passage in the epistle to the Colossians, 
and by the Trdorjg, which becomes intelligible only through the in 
terpretation of the word as " joint, connecting limb." We might 
with Meier rather understand the trrt^opT/yta of the support and lend 
ing of hands of believers among themselves, so that the sense would 
be this : " the body, which is joined together and firmly fixed by all 
the bonds of the reciprocal lending of hands." Still, on account of 
the close parallel of Col ii. 19, it seems here also more suitable. 

112 . EPHESIANS IV. 17, 18. 

with Harless, to take the imxppriyia of the communication of the 
Holy Ghost, and to explain the combination a0?) rijg tmxoprfyfaf as 
making the communication of the Holy Ghost itself the link of 
connexion between individual believers. For the working of be 
lievers themselves is spoken of in the following words : nar tvcpyeiav 
KV jutVpw Kvbg iifdarov [lepovg, i. e., " according to the working in the 
measure of every part of the body." According to ver. 7, therefore, 
to every part again is attributed its peculiar measure of the gifts 
and powers, and accordingly a peculiar relation to the whole. (The 
reading n&ovg has, it is true, the considerable authorities A.O. in 
its favour, but the change into nspovg is utterly inexplicable ; this 
reading must, therefore, be assuredly the original one.) The last 
words : elg olKodonrjv eavrov KV dyd-trr) can, according to the avt-rjotv 
TToiel-ai just before, only denote the object of the growth, so that 
thus the okodop? sensu prcegnanti expresses the complete edification 
of the church, as the end of the development. But, while the f-.v 
dydiry in ver. 15 exhibited the element in which the development is 
accomplished, the addition here declares that love is that in which 
the perfected church has her abiding condition. 

(iv. 17 v. 20.) 

Yers. 17, 18. The exhortation to a worthy walk, which was be 
gun at iv. 1, is now resumed, and now first applied to special rela 
tions. Paul commences with reminding his readers of the Gentile 
standard of morality, and urgently calling on them to renounce it, 
whilst he describes the state of the Gentiles in such a way that it is 
clear what different preliminaries for attaining a pure morality exist 
among them as Christians. The H^KKTI implies that their own state 
was also such, as the description, which follows, purports, but their 
walk can no longer be thus, in accordance with their present position. 
The reading "koi-a here is certainly genuine ; it was only omitted, 
because it was thought the readers of the epistle were surely, as 
Christians, no longer Gentiles. But Paul even within the sphere of 
Christianity still adheres to the descent from Israel, and the con 
trary. Lachmann has, on the authority of A.B.D.F.G., erased 
AO/TTO. The wicked course of life of the Gentiles is now described 
as proceeding from, and therefore consisting in, the paraiorTjg rov 
vob$ avr&v, the vanity of their mind. The vovg denotes here too, as 
in Kom. vii. 23, 24, the higher element in man, the Spirit conceived 
as a faculty. In the degraded Gentiles (Eom. i. 18, seq.) this higher 
element in man appears powerless and of none effect ; it is not ca 
pable of drawing them up to heaven ; they sink, therefore, into the 

EPHESIANS IV. 19. 113 

flesh and its lusts. The antithesis of this iiaraiorrjg rov vo6$ is the 
elvai. iv Xpiorti TrenXrjo^evog, Col. ii. 10. Novg is therefore here by no 
means = Qpovrjua, as Harless insists, but, on the contrary, the jua-ato- 
rrjg rov voog is the basis of the being so minded (the ^pov^/m): " I 
conjure you henceforth to walk no more as the other Gentiles walk 
in the nothingness of their spiritual life." The outward walk is an 
expression of the inward disposition, of the (ppovTjpa, and this is 
founded on the fj,aratorr]g rov voog ; where through God s Spirit the 
vovg is again strengthened and reinforced, and thus the power of the 
vovg is re-established, there the carnal mind ((fipov^a r^g aapno^ is 
also changed into a spiritual one (<f>p6vr}fj.a rov Trvev/zarof), and the 
course of life improved along with it. (See Rom. viii. 6, and in the 
opusc. theol. p. 157.) In what follows, the propositions, ioKoriofiKvoi 
ry diavoia dia rrjv dyvoiav rrjv ovoav iv avrolg, and ovreg dnv/AAo- 
rpiufiEVoi rrjg w?/? ~v Qeov dia ri jv K&puaiv rf/g napdiag avrtiv^ corre 
spond to each other. But Meier erroneously refers the former to the 
Gentiles, the other to the Jews ; the discourse here is of the Gentiles 
alone. In the first member the reference to the intellect prevails, in 
the second to the feelings (thus to the soul). In ioKoriafiKvoi rq 
diavoia the last term involves a difficulty ; for didvoia is = vovg } but 
also as the action of the vovg, diavoia. (See my opusc. theol. 
p. 156, seq.) After fta,Tat6rr]$ rov voog immediately preceding, didvoia 
cannot well be again taken in the meaning of vovg ; that general term 
is rather specialized in the subsequent clauses. Where the vovg is 
impaired in power, the process of thinking exhibits itself without 
discernment by reason of the ayvoLa } and by reason of the hardening 
of the l}eart the feelings (the conscience) appear without excitability, 
man being estranged from the life of God. This ignorance (ayvoia) 
is the state of ddeo-rjg (according to ii. 12) ; where the knowledge of 
God is wanting, the true light is in general wanting, the active 
thinking faculty is darkened. The phrase " life of God," which is 
found here only, is not to be referred to a general form of speech, 
such as " virtuous life," because it is produced by God ; it rather 
denotes the life which God himself is and has, and which is granted 
to the creature as long as it continues in communion with God, and 
does not by sin separate itself from the source of its life. (Ver. 17, 
paprvpopai stands, like diapaprvpoftai, 1 Tim. v. 21 ; 2 Tim. ii. 14, iv. 
1, in the meaning of obtestari. Ev Kvptu must not be taken as a 
form of swearing, but as a designation of the element, standing in 
which Paul propounds what follows [rovro]. On tiaOug nai see Har- 
tung s Doctrine of the Particles, vol. 1, p. 126, seq. On arraAAo- 
rpiovodat, see at ii. 12. On mogwcig see at Rom. xi. 25. 

Ver. 19. As a result of the hardening of the feelings, which, 
however, is on its part induced by sin, is finally named the giving 
one s self over to the impurest transgressions, just as in Rom. i. sin 
VOL. V. 8 

114 . EPHESIANS IY. 20, 21. 

is represented as a result of the service of sin. Of course the words 
elg ipyaaiav duadapoiac TrdaT/c^for the working of all uncleanness, are 
not to be understood as implying that each individual had personally 
committed all forms of uncleanness. According to Eom. ii. 14, 26, and 
the testimony of history, there were certainly sober, chaste charac 
ters, even in the world before Christ ; the words describe only the state 
of the collective body. Comp. at v. 12. For the rare dm^y^KOTe?, 
D.E.F.G. read a,-m\kniK,6-ec. But despair is nowhere narried as the 
ground of surrender to sin, but the hardening of the heart, which 
makes insensible to the exhortations of the Holy Spirit. The par 
ticiple is, therefore, to be translated : " who, because they have 
hardened themselves." ArraAyetv, doloris evpers esse, finally, is 
found in the New Testament in this passage only. AaeAyem is 
nearly akin to daadapaia, and is expressly used for designating lust ; it 
rather, however, marks its internal aspect, the want of self-control, 
of power for self-subjection, and duaOapaia its external exhibition. 
The added -rrdaa points to all the forms of uncleanness which were 
in vogue among the Gentiles, and are enumerated Eom. i. The 
added KV Tivleovefia Grotius refers to the practice of uncleanness 
for money ; but that cannot surely be affirmed universally of all 
Gentiles. The usual meaning, " covetousness," cannot well be here 
applied, if h retains its meaning. The word seems used in the 
more extended sense, in which it also occurs elsewhere, as the Greek 
Fathers had already taken it. [See Harless on this passage.] Chry- 
sostom and Theodoret take it as = dfierpug, Kad frmfpoXqv. But it 
is more correctly understood of physical avidity, of overfilling one s- 
self with meat and drink, by which the sins of lust are promoted. 
(See on this subject at v. 3, 5, also.) 

Vers. 20, 21. To this description is annexed the exhortation 
to his Gentile Christian readers, to renounce, as Christians, that 
course of life which the Gentiles pursue. Ov% ovrug is clearly to be 
taken thus : " ye have not so learned Christ that ye could combine 
a Gentile life with the profession of Christ/ But the formula \j-av~ 
Bdveiv -bv Xpiorcrv, learn Christ, is singular ; for \uivQavuv cannot, 
from the nature of the case, be construed with the ace. pers. It is 
here plausible to interpret Christ figuratively of the doctrine of 
Christ. But in the peculiar relation of Christ to the church lies the 
satisfactory justification of the singular mode of expression. The 
Lord himself is the object of preaching, not a mere doctrine of him ; 
accordingly, we may likewise speak of learning Christ, i. e. } of a tak 
ing up into one s-self and appropriating to one s-self the person of 
Christ himself, which is called, Col. ii. 6, TTapakanftdvsiv rbv Xpiarov, 
receiving Christ. (See John i. 5, xi. 12.) In Col. iii. 16 stands 
the kindred phrase, 6 Aoyof rov Xpiorov evoinel iv v/uv, which does 
not mean his doctrine, but his living word, which is he himself. 

EPHESIANS IV. 22. 115 

From the same principle the following dicovEtv avrov is also to be ex 
plained. This phrase does not mean u to hear about him, of him, 
through others," but to perceive in ourselves Christ himself, the eter 
nal Word (see on John iv. 42, and Matth. xi. 27). Thus the act of 
regeneration is denoted, from which is developed progressive re 
newal in sanctification, of which the mention immediately follows. 
Finally, the subjoined iv avrti 6idax,6>jvai is to be taken thus : " to 
be taught, so that one through faith is in him, i. e., in community 
of being with him," which again presupposes the communication of 
the being of Christ to the soul. (See 1 Thess. iv. 9, where Paul 
calls Christians 6eodida,KToi.} The last two phrases, we add, stand 
so related to each other, that they together constitute the pavOdveiv 
rbv Xpiarov. He that perceives his voice in himself, and permits 
himself to be so taught by it that he enters into communion with 
the Lord, is a true ^a^r^c, learner, disciple, of Christ. In dye (see 
on iii. 2), however, Paul again supposes the state of his readers not 
sufficiently known to him, although he is ready to assume the best : 
" If, that is to say, as I may assume as certain, ye have heard him," 
etc. But the clause tcaduc,- KOTIV dhrjdeta Iv TU> Irjoov, in this verse 21, 
is obscure. The retrospective reference of icadug to an ovrug preced 
ing : " if ye have heard him as the truth is in Jesus, i. e., according 
to the right knowledge of his person," is inadmissible, because then, 
first, dfajOeia would have necessarily required the article, and sec 
ondly, because Christ would have been substituted for Jesus, which 
name refers to the human element in the Saviour s character. 
Again, there is not a true and a false hearing of Christ ; he is either 
heard or not heard. Lastly, if we close the proposition with Irjaov, 
the infinitives d-rroOeoOai, dvaveovaOai, etc., are left without connexion. 
For to regard the infinitive as standing for the imperative, is inad 
missible, because this use of the mood is certain in one passage only 
in the New Testament (see Winer s Gr., 43, 5), and here in par 
ticular the vjwaf with dTrodevOai makes the construction impossible. 
The infinitives are rather to be conceived as dependent on Kdidd^O^re, 
and the clause, " as truth is in Jesus," would seem to represent the 
Kedeemer in his human development as a pattern for believers, after 
which they on their part are to form themselves. Thus Harless, 
correctly. The advantages of this interpretation are that it explains 
not only the choice of the name Jesus, denoting the human element 
in Christ, but also the prominence given to the v^ag with a-o&> 
odai, which seems to place on a parallel Jesus and believers on him. 
What in Jesus is truth, not semblance, is to become truth also in 
the faithful. 

Ver. 22.i First, now, the negative feature of sanctification is de 
picted, the laying aside of tiie old man, or the crucifying of the same 
(Gal. v. 24), then the positive one, the putting on of the new man. 

116 EPHESIANS IV. 22. 

Of course in the inner life the one cannot exist without the other ; 
they are two essentially correlative aspects of the same state. But 
what is to be laid aside in sanctification is not merely the habit 
of sinning, but the entire old man, also the sinfulness inherited by 
birth itself, whence the habit, of sinning first developed itself by un 
faithfulness. But to this the clause Kara r^v Trporepav dvaarpocbTJv 
seems to stand in contradiction. Storr and Flatt would so construct 
ciTTodKaOai vudg Kara ri]V Trporepav dvaarpo^rjv, rbv rraXaibv dvOpurrov, 
that the sense would be : " to lay aside yourselves according to your 
previous course of life, i. e., the old man." But it has been already 
observed by Ruckert and Harless that "to lay one s-self aside" 
would be expressed by d-oOiadai Kavrovg, and besides, the self-con 
tradicting formula, " to lay aside one s-self," is nowhere found. 
KiroOKodai is here to be explained from its opposite tvdvaaodai, put on, 
and refers to the figure of a garment, which is laid aside and put on. 
But himself, his own being, of course no one can lay aside. We have 
already seen at vers. 20, 21, that vfj-dg is repeated merely for the sake 
of the antithesis with Jesus. The clause Kara rr\v Trporepav dvaorpo- 
$r\v is rather to be taken as determining more accurately the TtaXaibg 
dvdpwTrog for this particular case. For, although indeed the old man 
must be laid aside by him even who has not given himself over to 
the working of all impurity, but has led a life of strict legal observ 
ance ; yet the necessity of so doing appears much more clearly in 
those more deeply debased, and for the purpose of drawing attention 
to this fact Paul adds it expressly for the Gentile Christians. Pre 
cisely so in the parallel passage, Col. iii. 9, ovv rat$ Trpd&oiv avrov, 
with his deeds, is added to the -nahaibg dvOpu-og, which is to be laid 
aside ; but in many persons the old man does not reach the point of 
producing such actual wicked works as are mentioned Col. iii. 5, seq. 
For the same reason is also added the characterizing clause, rbv 00t- 
p6fjvov Kara rag emdvuiag rijg drrdrrj^, who is corrupt according to 
the deceitful lusts. For, while the old man has the <f>6opd and uarai- 
orrjg in him as necessary qualities while every natural man, even he 
who has not heightened his original sin by actual sin, is of nought, 
without power to fulfil the law, yet it cannot be said of every one 
that the old man in him is corrupt in consequence of the lusts of 
deceit. These lusts of deceit, that is to say, are the lusts which 
provoke to the working of all uncleanness, which stifle even the good 
that is still left in man after the fall, which extinguish the light in 
him, and thus cause a total darkness (ver. 18). (See on Matth. vi. 
23.) ATTar?/, deceit, denotes the nature of sin which amuses man 
with a show of joy without affording him true satisfaction. (See on 
Rom. vii. 11.) We cannot, therefore, with Harless, regard " the un- 
blest state of the old man" as denoted by the (p6eipouevog Kard rag 
Imdvpiag rfy dndrng, but that especial form of sinfulness which had 

EPHESIANS IV. 23, 24. 117 

developed itself among the Gentiles in the mass, and thus precisely 
as Paul describes it in Kom. i. From this form of sinfulness (the 
epyaaia duaOapaiag Trdarjcf) individual Gentiles, and the Jews in the 
mass, were free ; among the latter, indeed, original sin had, in con 
sequence of their unfaithfulness, generated another form of actual 
sin, self-righteousness, presumption, and pride ; but still their sinful 
state could not be described as the old man that is corrupted by de 
ceitful lusts (naXaibg dvOpUTrog 6 (jiOeipofievog Kara rag imdvuiag r?ig 
dndrrjg), as these words are intended to characterize the pernicious 
effects of sensual excesses. 

Vers. 23, 24. To the negative duty of laying aside the old man, 
is subjoined the positive one of being renewed and putting on the 
new man (dvaveovadai ical ivdvaaaOai rbv aaivbv dvOpuTrovJ. No dis 
tinction is to be sought for between dvaveovadai and dvanaivovadai (2 
Cor. iv. 16 ; Col. iii. 10), any more than between vebg and tcaivbg 
rov voog, while here we have the dvaveovadai. of the vovg. Both 
dvdpunog. (See Col. iii. 10.) In Horn. xii. 2 we read dvanaiv^aig 
words answer to the Hebrew hh, Ps. li. 12. (See Antonin. np. eavr. 
iv. 3. dvaveov oeavrov, ) As in the old lies at the same time the 
idea of the obsolete, so in the new is that of the original, of that 
which corresponds with its ideal. In the combination dvaveovadai 
teal evdvaaadai rbv natvbv dvdpu-rrov, the latter expression appears as a 
more exact epexegetic definition of the former, which is particu 
larly shewn in the further characterization of the new man. (See 
on evdvaaadai at Bom. xiii. 14 ; Gal. iii. 27.) But while the laying 
aside the old, and the putting on the new, is here referred to man, 
of course it is not Paul s meaning that sanctification is accomplished 
by our own power : Christ is our sanctification, as he is our right 
eousness (see on 1 Cor. i. 30) ; but all, that Christ through the Holy 
Spirit works in man, can in the form of Law be put to him as a de 
mand, because man by his unfaithfulness can hinder the operation 
of the Spirit. But in verse 23 the nvev^a rov voog } a combination 
found nowhere else, still requires consideration. Either separate ex 
pression would have, sufficed, as Kom. xii. 2 shews, and would have 
been intelligible, but how are -rrvevaa and vovg in this their com 
bination to be understood ? We take vovg absolutely as the 
faculty of perceiving the eternal, in which is contained as well 
that which we call reason, as also self-consciousness, which latter 
reference is manifest in 1 Cor. xiv. in the formula Troo^reveiv f.v vol. 
From this faculty proceed in the natural state all impulses to what 
is good (Eom. vii. 23) ; but the vovg is found in the condition of 
(iaraio-T)g (verse 18), and is therefore overcome by the flesh ; it is 
only through Christ that the vovg can serve the Law of God (Rom. 
vii. 25). In the renewal, therefore, the vovg is reinforced, so that it 
can conquer. The reinforcement is to be derived from the commu- 

118 EPHESIANS IV. 23, 24. 

nication of Christ s higher spirit to the soul, and this is intended by 
the formula " renewed in .the spirit of the mind." Hvsv[j.a is the 
substance, and vovg the power of the substance ; when, therefore, 
the renewal is referred to the substance, by that is meant to be ex 
pressed the operation of the Divine Spirit on the human spirit, an 
operation strengthening, sanctifying, transforming. We find, there 
fore, in this passage no occasion for departing from the view of 
biblical psychology, which we have propounded in the dissertation 
on the Trichotomy (opusc. theol. p. 143, seq.) ; on the contrary, 
we find its fundamental ideas completely established here. On the 
other hand, I must consider as totally inadmissible the reference of 
the vovg to the feeling, for which Kapdia usually stands, or the dispo 
sition (0pov?7jua). (See further the remarks on Col. ii. 18.) Lastly, 
the words rbv Kara Qebv KrioOevra KV diKaioovvi] Kal omorqri rift d/l?/- 
0eiaf, created after God in righteousness, etc., are of great doctrinal 
importance. They characterize the new man as a restoration of the 
Divine image, and at the same time give the specific tokens of that 
image. Now, the less this image appears elsewhere in Scripture, the 
more important must these communications of the apostle appear. 
The words icard Qebv tcriodsig, created after God, convey, no doubt, 
an allusion to the creation of man, Gen. i. 27, Kal e-noi-rjaev 6 Qeb$ rbv 
dvOpu-ov, /car daova Qeov enoirjoev avrov. The new "birth is the 
second creation (see at ii. 10), wherefore the new man is called naivri 
Krioig, nc-rr rmi-a. (See at 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Gal. vi. 15.) Now, as God 
in the beginning created man after his own image, so too in regene 
ration he again creates him after the same, because sin had dimmed 
the image of God. That Paul employs Kara Qeuv in our passage in 
the sense of /tar duova Qeov is shewn by the parallel passage, Col. iii. 
10, /car eiicova rov urioavrog avrov } after the image of him who crea 
ted him. The archetype, however, after which man is made in the 
new birth is Christ, the second Adam, ekwv rov Qeov rov dopdrov 
(Col. i. 15 ; 2 Cor. iv. 4). Therefore the new man is also called the 
Christ in us ; Christ creates his likeness in every human heart. He 
everywhere begets himself again. But the nature of this Divine 
image is more accurately determined by the words KV dutaioavvq 
KOI ooLorrjri rfc d/.rjddag, in righteousness and true holiness. The 
preposition KV designates the state in which this conformity to the 
Divine image consists and exhibits itself. The two expressions, 
diKatoovvT) and uator/^, are in like manner put in juxtaposition, 
but in an inverted order, in Luke i. 75 ; Wisdom of Solomon ix. 3. 
The adjectives and adverbs are found in conjunction at 1 Thess. ii. 
10 ; Titus i. 8. &IKOIOOVVT) denotes the right relation inwardly be 
tween the powers of the soul, outwardly to men and circumstances. 
(See at Horn. iii. 21.) On the other hand, uoiorr^g denotes, like the 
Hebrew c^rn (Prov. ii. 21 ; Amos v. 10), integrity of the spiritual 

EPHESIANS IV. 25-27. 119 

life, and the piety towards G-od which it supposes. The two ex 
pressions together complete, therefore, the idea of moral perfection 
(Matth. v. 48). And in the regenerate man this is not show, but 
reality ; rr\q dkrjdeiag refers to the collective idea dtKaioavvrj nal 6at6- 
TTjg, and is used in the same sense as in ver. 22 ; as in Jesus there 
is nothing but reality, no show, he also works reality in those that 
are his. While thus here the ethical aspect of this image of God is 
put forward, Col. iii. 10 puts the intellectual one in the foreground ; 
renewal leads only to Kxiyvwaig : all knowledge that proceeds not 
from the renewal of the heart, as was that of those false teachers in 
Colossas, is seeming knowledge. On the other hand, the Wisdom 
of Solomon ii. 23 exhibits this image in its physical character, i. e. y 
the incorruptibleness (d$9apai&) of the bo dy ; /car daova -7^ Idiag 
WjoTT/rof, God made man exempt from death. 

Ver. 25. This general discussion now leads the way to special 
precepts, and indeed, down to v. 2, such as refer to duties towards 
others. Among these Paul places first the exhortation to truthful 
ness, because it is the condition of all sound relations of men among 
themselves. Hence, too, Paul enforces the exhortation by the words : 
OTI Kopev dkArjkuv //e/l?/, because loe are members one of another; 
without truthfulness no communion of Christian life can subsist. 
(The laying aside of lying and the speaking truth stand related, as 
in vers. 22, 24 the laying aside of the old and the putting on of the 
new man ; they thus designate the negative and the positive aspects 
of truth. The words in Zech. viii. 16, according to the LXX., seem 
to have been present to Paul s mind here ; they run thus : AaAtire 
d^-TjOstav Sicaarog Ttpbg rbv TTAT/CT/OV avrov.) 

Vers. 26, 27. The first words, dpyc&ade teal prj dpaprdvE-e, be angry 
and sin not, are quoted after Ps. iv. 5. As, however, they are not 
to be viewed as a formal quotation by way of proof, but only as a 
reminiscence after the LXX., no stress is to be laid on the difference 
between the Greek translation and the Hebrew. According to the 
context of the Psalm sran means "fear ye," viz., God ; the LXX. 
have given it dpyi&aOe, as alone the expression, by itself, admits of 
being taken. But as to the meaning of the obscure words here in 
the context of this epistle, we might with Winer assume that Paul 
is supposing a just anger, and means to say, " you may be angry, 
but sin not in your anger," if immediately after (verse 31) anger 
were not represented as utterly to be reprobated. To refer the nega 
tion to both verbs, " be not angry and sin not," its position mani 
festly forbids. Harless takes the proposition, "be angry and sin 
not," as = " be angry in the right way," i. c., without bitterness 
against the person, with a reconcilable heart. But even this mode 
of taking it certainly grants that permission of anger which stands 
in contradiction to ve"rse 31. Man s anger is never in itself just and 

120 EPHESIANS IV. 28. 

permissible ; God s anger alone is holy and just ; to him, therefore, 
alone, according to Rom. xii. 19, is anger to h left. The only satis 
factory interpretation is that which (Ecumenius had already pro 
pounded, and Meier last defended, viz., to take the imperative hypo- 
thetically : " if ye are angry, as it is to be foreseen will happen, at 
least sin not in anger." This use of the imperative is explained 
from the Hebrew. (See Ewald s Gr. pp. 556, seq.) The being 
angry without sin then presupposes that the heart is not embittered 
by it, but remains appeasable. With this the following propo 
sition naturally connects itself, in which also placability is recom 
mended ; the sun is not to go down upon our wrath, i. e., it is not to 
be carried over to the following day. (Uapopyi^o^ differs from dpyri 
as denoting the individual paroxysm of anger ; opy?/, on the con 
trary, anger as a passion, without regard to its special occasion. 
~n.apopyiafj.6g is not found again in the New Testament, but often in 
the LXX. for e?? and t^j?, 1 Kings xv. 30 ; 2 Kings xxiii. 26 ; Jer. 
xxi. 5.) The exhortation in verse 27, p?<5e didore TOTTOV TO> dta/36Aoj, 
neither give place to the devil, which in itself wears a perfectly gen 
eral character (since the devil, as the prince of darkness, incites to 
everything bad), refers in its connexion specially to the pernicious 
element of anger, when it exasperates the heart, by destroying peace 
and stirring up enmity and hatred. The devil is mentioned in a 
similar way at 2. Cor. ii. 11. (The phrase TOTTOV didovai [Rom. xii. 19], 
for which x^pav tiidovai also occurs, answers to the Hebrew t^ps -,r5 
in the sense " to permit to come into operation, to offer an opportu 
nity for operation." The reading /^de is, with Lachmann, decidedly 
to be preferred to f^re, and firjde also harmonizes well with the above- 
given reference of the passage to the disturbance of peace. See Har- 
less ad h. 1. ; Winer s Gr. 55-6, p. 435.) 

Ver. 28. A second exhortation relates to stealing (not merely in 
its gross exterior shape, but in general as appropriation of others 
property), and the encouragement of industry. ( K^ETTTUV is here 
not Khtyaf; the discourse refers not to any actual theft, but to the 
vice of stealing. The article makes the participle a substantive ; 6 
KkKTTTuv is " the thief.") Here, however, there is found a great dis 
crepancy in the MSS., one omitting TO dya66v } another rai$ x f P a L ) 
another adding idiaig also, another avrov to %epal. As the passage 
possesses no doctrinal importance, and has no intrinsic difficulty, 
this variation is without any intelligible grounds. To me, with Har- 
less, the simplest reading seems the original one, and all else spuri 
ous additions. To ayaQov and I8ia<; may have been interpolated from 
kindred passages, as 1 Cor. iv. 12 ; Gal. vi. 10. (See on the import 
of dyaOov the remark on Gal. vi. 10.) The addition, tva tyy, K. ~. L, 
does not express the immediate object of labour, that is, one s own 
maintenance, but the specifically Christian one, From the impulse 

EPHESIANS IV. 29, 30. 121 

towards mutual participation, which the Gospel arouses, the Christ 
ian can never wish to possess or enjoy anything alone. 

Ver. 29. From outward action the discourse makes a transition 
to words. The Christian walking in sincerity utters not only no 
wicked, but even no useless words. Aoyog aan-pog denotes here, since 
at ver. 4 special mention is made of immodest speeches, all words 
that are useless, and do not answer their object, as Chrysostom ex 
presses himself : nav b firj rfjv Idiav %peiav -n^pol oarrpbv heyopev. (See 
Matth. vii. 17, 18, xii. 33.) Paul means rather, that words should 
be regulated by the need of those present, so that they may serve 
for edification, and may confer a benefit on the hearers. (At d rig, 
ic. r. A., KKTTOpevEadM KK, rov aro^arog is to be supplied. Okodop) rfjc 
Xpdag is a rare expression ; it was natural therefore to alter it to 
TTIOTSMC, which D.E.F.G. read. But the reading xpdag deserves the 
preference, just because it is the unusual mode of expression. " Edi 
fication of need " is to be taken : " to the edification of those who 
are in need of it." With dw %apiv supply Xoyog dyadog, " that it 
may confer a benefit on the hearers." The word didovai forbids our 
rendering ^ap^here by "grace, attractiveness." Xdpig is used 2 Cor. 
viii. 4, 6 exactly as it is used here.) 

Ver. 30. What now follows is not to be taken as an entirely 
new exhortation, but as a warning against the use of corrupt speech 
(Adyof aaTrpog], on account of its influence on the Holy Spirit, that fills 
the heart of the believer, and is grieved thereby. " Grieving" the 
Holy Ghost is of course different from " blaspheming" (pkaaQrjp.eiv ) 
against the Holy Ghost (Mark iii. 29 ; Luke xii. 10); it expresses 
the influence of inferior degrees of sin on the Holy Ghost. In Isaiah 
Ixiii. 10 we find a similar phrase, -rrapo^vveiv TO -nvevfia (ass). But it is 
a question, if this expression, " grieve not the Holy Spirit," is to 
arouse the fear lest the Spirit should depart from them ; or whether 
it is to awaken love : " you will not surely wish to grieve the good 
Spirit in you." The decision depends on how the following ev w ea- 
(j)payia67]Ts elg fyispav d-rro^vrpuaeug, in whom ye were sealed, etc., is 
taken. The idea of sealing (see on i. 13) is that of confirming, es 
tablishing, here in the state of grace ; and the d-rroXv-pwoi.g is here, 
as at 1 Cor. i. 30, absolute redemption ; therefore the phrase elg 
rifiepav drro^vrpuaeug, unto the day of redemption, denotes the whole 
course of sanctification unto the completion of the work of God in 
the soul of man. Accordingly elg is not to be translated " for the 
day of redemption," this being thus regarded as a deciding day, but 
" until the day of redemption," i. e., therefore, " in which Spirit ye 
now and evermore through the whole course of your development are 
confirmed in the state of grace." According to this meaning of the 
clause, it cannot be doubtful that Paul here wishes to work upon his 
readers through love and the holy shrinking from grieving the good 

122 EPHESIANS IV. 31, 32. 

Spirit dwelling in them, and not through fear. The thought fs to be 
thus paraphrased : " Grieve not the Holy Spirit, since it is he to 
whom ye owe the great grace of your sealing in the life of faith, and 
will owe it unto the end of your Christian development, until the day 
of redemption." There is no reference to a possible apostacy from 
the faith, and departure of the Holy Spirit ; nor is there any formal 
allusion to Isaiah Ixiii. 9, where similar thoughts occur, as Paul 
would else certainly have retained the napo^vveiv which is there used. 
The apostle only means to encourage his readers to walk circum 
spectly by calling on them not to grieve the Holy Spirit which fills 
them. That this AvrreZv means merely " to restrict in its operation," 
is scarce demonstrable. The expression rather belongs to the class 
of those which represent the Divine essence as capable of being 
affected by sin. The language undoubtedly draws its imagery from 
human passion ; yet it conveys the important truth that God will 
not be unaffected by human sin and misery, but, as the most exalted 
and purest love, essentially feels both, though without disturbing his 
bliss, because he never contemplates sin except in connexion with 

Yers. 31, 32. Christians then are to become also like the Divine 
love, which has manifested itself in Christ as forgiving love, and to 
that end put away all uncharitableness, both in its root and its ex 
pression. (Ovpog differs from opy?/, as the inward cause from the out 
ward effect ; the emotion of the soul from the outburst of anger. 
lltupia, however, again contains the cause of the inward boiling up 
of anger, " irritation, bitterness of mind," which easily occasions 
anger to arise. Lastly, Kpavyij and Pkaotfxgiia are outbreaks of bpyrj. 
The latter expression does not here refer to God, but to man, against 
whom the anger is directed. Karia is finally, according to the con 
text, here specially uncharitableness in all forms of its manifesta 
tion. Compare here the parallel passage, Col. iii. 8. In ver. 32 
XpTjoroi forms the antithesis with mKpia. Perhaps there is couched 
in the word, which by Itacism is pronounced xpiaroi, an allusion to 
the name of Christians ; the apologists of the first centuries often 
use it. The form KvarrXay^vog is not found again except at 1 Pet. iii. 
8, " easily moved to compassion." At Col. iii. 12 ivdvaao6e onkdy%va 
stands for it. The concluding words, x a P l ^ evoi tavrolg, K. r. A., 
are found word for word at Col. iii. 13. Xapi&adai stands here like 
dfaevai elsewhere. Eavrolg = aAA^Aoif . See Matthias s Gr., vol. 2, 
p. 920. At the end of the verse it seems that tffuv after B.D.E. 
should be read with Lachrnann. For the change into v/uv is easily 
explained, being both preceded and followed by the second person. 
It is also intelligible how the consciousness of Paul that he had to 
thonk God in Christ for his own forgiveness also, urged him here to 
include himself with his readers. 

EPHESIANS V. 1, 2. 123 

Chap. v. 1, 2. -As a winding up of this exhortation to exercise 
the duties which relate to others, Paul further expressly calls upon 
his readers, as children of God, to imitate God, and so to walk in love 
as Christ has loved them, viz., with self-sacrifice and self-denial. 
The same idea is expressed in Matth. v. 48, " be ye perfect, as your 
Father in heaven is perfect." This endeavour seems here more 
closely enforced by ug TKKVO, dya-x^Ta, as dear children. As children 
bear in them their father s nature, so they can also imitate his ex 
ample. The relation of children here spoken of refers, of course, to 
the new birth and the Divine life communicated to man in it. But 
Paul makes a transition at once from the imitation of God to Christ, 
because God was in Christ, and has loved us in him and through him. 
The aorists ?}ya7:^cre, Trapt ^w/ie point to the historical fact of the death 
in which Christ s self-sacrificing love reached its climax. Christ s 
giving up of himself is now more accurately described as a sacrificial 
death for man. (IIpoa</>opa, the more general word for sacrifice, is by 
6voia more closely defined as a sacrifice of blood.) The idea of sacri 
fice also suggests the closing clause of ver. 2, rw Qeti el$ daprjv 
6ia^,for a sweet smelling odor, etc. It answers to the Hebrew 
htro fii^, Gen. viii. 21 ; Lev. ii. 12, iii. 5. In Phil. iv. 18 it is found 
.again, and is there interpreted : Ovaia deK-rj, evopEarog ~u> 0e<3, an 
acceptable sacrifice, loell pleasing to God. But the pleasure that 
God takes in the sacrifice of his Son does not refer to Christ s suf 
fering and death as such, but to the love and obedience that Christ 
exhibited therein. Against this very ancient view of our passage, 
which so entirely corresponds with the words and with Paul s circle 
of ideas (see on Kom. iii. 25 ; 1 Cor. v. 7), Kiickert, Meier, and 
Usteri have recently objected that the question here is not as to the 
atoning death of Christ, but merely of his love, by which he has left us 
a pattern. Usteri (St. Paul s System, 4th ed., p. 113) expresses him 
self upon our passage as follows : " The context contains only this: 
Christ has, in his yielding up of himself, so well-pleasing to God, 
left us a pattern. That is to say, the giving up himself by Christ was, 
as we know from Phil. ii. 8, at the same time an act of obedience 
towards God, and therefore attended by the Divine approval. 00p) 
evudiag at Phil. iv. 18, and evudia at 2 Cor. ii. 15, are used in a simi 
lar way to denote the Divine well-pleasedness, without the slightest 
allusion being made to an atonement." Now it is certainly correct 
that the phrase 6cr/.t?? evudiag by itself does not suffice to demonstrate 
the idea of sacrifice ; but surely that idea is couched in the words 
rrapiiSuKev Kavrbv i rrt p r/^wv rrpoatpopav nal Ovaiav, he delivered himself 
for us an offering and sacrifice. It is also to be acknowledged that in 
the connexion of our passage the primary design is not to suggest 
the idea of a sacrifice, but to present Christ as a pattern. But 
it cannot and must not be denied that Christ s sacrificial death is 

124 EPHESIANS V. 3-5. 

here supposed by Paul to "be known, and that he exhibits Christ s 
giving himself up as a sacrifice for a pattern to his readers, just 
as is done in Matth. xx. 28, in Christ s own words. (See the 
Comm. on that passage.) That Christ s sacrificial death cannot 
be a pattern for men in all relations, does not prevent its being 
set forth as such a pattern for some virtues, particularly for obe 
dience and pure self sacrificing love. Thus at Phil. ii. 5, seq., the 
putting off his Divine nature by Christ is also represented as a pat 
tern for humility, without meaning to suppose anything entirely 
analogous in man. Also the imitation of God would be out of the 
question (verse 1) if every imitation required complete equality with 
the pattern. 

Vers. 3-5. While from iv. 25 to this point Paul has recom 
mended duties toward others, he now (vers. 3-20) addresses him 
self to duties toward ourselves. His exhortations relate collectively 
to the warning against fleshly lusts and sensual enjoyments, v/ith 
which a holy enjoyment and spiritual gladness are contrasted as 
worthy of the Christian (vers. 18-20). This series of exhortations 
(vers. 7-14) is interrupted by a new comparison of heathenism 
with Christianity, in which the former is characterized as the ele 
ment of darkness, the latter as the element of light. But the 
comprehension of the train of thought in this section depends en 
tirely on the interpretation of the expression -rrXeove^ia, TrXeoi KKrrjg. 
If it denotes " covetousness, avarice," the exhortations do not con 
fine themselves to fleshly sins. But as everything else in this 
section admits of being referred to these, and as it is only on the 
assumption that Paul means to treat of them here, that verse 18 is 
fitly combined with what precedes, and as we have been already (at 
iv. 19) obliged to take nteovei&a = pampering of the flesh, that 
meaning seems to be required here also. But the addition in verse 
4, oq tariv eMcoAoAarpT/f, who is an idolater (for which Lachmann 
without any sufficient reason reads o), compared with Col. iii. 5, 
TTXeovegia r\riq kariv eMwAoAarpeta, seems to make the assumption 
doubtful. For this limiting term seems to involve a reference to 
Mammon, as the god of this world, which would favour the ac 
ceptation of TrXeove^ia in its proper sense of " covetousness." Har- 
less attempts to avoid this difficulty by referring og not to the last 
preceding substantive merely, but to all together, so that all the 
above-named phases of sin would be called idolatry. But this seems 
to me arbitrary. It is more natural to suppose that Paul takes 
Trfaovegia, in the sense of " carnal desire of enjoyment," as idolatry, 
because he, as Phil. iii. 19 shews, sees in it a deifying of the belly, 
wv 6 Oebg TJ /cotA/ a. Paul takes the sins of lust first as consequences 
of the panrpering of the flesh (Rom. xiii. 14). Add to this that, in 
Col. iii. 5, too, Trteovegia is ranked among sins of a carnal nature, 

EPHESIANS V. 3-5. 125 

and may thus be very properly taken there in the same way as here. 
(See also 1 Thess. iv. 5.) 

Paul now represents all carnal-mindedness, in word or deed, as 
unworthy of the Christian ; unholy things do not become saints ; 
the kingdom of God, the fellowship of the saints, permits nothing 
unholy in it. But of course the doctrine that carnal living excludes 
from the kingdom of God is not to be understood as implying that 
no one who ever committed a carnal sin can enter into the kingdom 
of God ; the very readers of Paul s epistle had previously lived as 
heathens (ver. 8). It is rather meant to declare that without thor 
ough conversion and purification from such things, no one can be in 
the holy kingdom of God. (In ver. 3 the p/de dvofia^aOM h vfilv, 
i. e. } EV HKOU vp&v, forms a contrast with the outward act. Such 
carnal sins are to be wholly unheard of among Christians, not even 
known by name. In ver. 4 alaxpoTrjg is, in its combination with jucj- 
(wAoyta, and from Col. iii. 8, where ala^oo^oyia is mentioned, to be 
understood of indecency in language. MwpoAoyta, which is found 
here only, means by itself only stultiloquium, ubi risus captatur, 
etiam sine sale, as Bengel interprets. But the context gives to the 
expression a predominant reference to discourses in which double- 
entendres are introduced. Near akin is evrpaTrekia also, which, in 
like manner, is found nowhere in the New Testament but here. It 
comes from evrodrreXog, one who can turn skilfully ; hence lepidus, 
facetus. The substantive is used in the meaning scurrilitas in di- 
cendo, which is also wont to take especial pleasure in lascivious talk. 
Plautus characterizes the Ephesians as especially tempted in this 
respect. [Miles glorios. iii. 1.] To the impure use of speech Paul 
places in opposition the pure and holy use of it in prayer. In ver. 5 
the reading lore is, according to the view of all more modern critics, 
decidedly to be preferred to the fore of the text. rcc. The conjunction 
of the two kindred expressions strengthens the idea of knowledge : 
" you surely know of your own knowledge that," etc. We have at 
the close of the verse the singular phrase fiaoiXeia TOV Xpta-ov KOI 
Qeov. The reading Qeov nal Xptarov in F.G. is, we may suppose, to 
be explained merely from the notion that God must be named before 
Christ. The name Paoihsia TOV Xpia-ov occasions no difficulty, for 
although in most instances by far J3aoikeia rov Qeov stands, still TOV 
Xf>ta-ov also is found, e. </., 2 Tim. iv. 1 ; Matth. xvi. 28. And even 
if it were not found in the New Testament, still the fact that Christ 
is the King of the kingdom of God, that the Father has handed the 
dominion over to him (1 Cor. xv. 27), would in itself abundantly 
vindicate the expression. Even among the Ptabbis the kingdom of 
God is therefore called iren tv&c. The only difficulty lies in the 
addition nal Qeov. That Paul meant to characterize Christ as God 
in opposition to the false gods is improbable, because then we may 

126 EPHESIANS V. 6-11. 

suppose rov Xpiarov Qeov would have been written. The omitted 
article before Qeov } therefore, lends no support to this view, because 
Qeog frequently stands without the article, and no accurate distinc 
tion is here intended between Christ and God. It would seem most 
correct to regard KOI Qeov as characterizing more definitely the tv ry 
j3amXeia. rov Xpiorov, in this sense : " in the kingdom of Christ, which 
is also the kingdom of God." Paul adds this statement in order 
to direct observation to the holiness of the kingdom in which God, 
the author of all holiness, reigns. Compare the parallel passages, 
Kev. xi. 15, xii. 10.) 

Vers. 6, ?. With the kingdom of God and the salvation in it, 
God s wrath is further contrasted. This falls on the unbelieving, 
not merely in future punishments, but also, as Rom. i. shews, even 
on earth. They are, therefore, not merely shut out from the king 
dom of God, but they also fall into Gehenna. Paul therefore warns 
his readers against community with them, for that also brings with 
it a like fate. Only the [iqdeig vfj,dg aTrard-d) Kevolg koyoig, let no one 
deceive you with vain words, which points to deceivers, is signifi 
cant here. Among Gentiles we cannot, of course, imagine them, 
for Christians were, as such, separated from them. Paul must have 
meant thoughtless-minded persons among the Christians them 
selves, who, we may suppose, were led by antinomian ideas to the 
notion that such carnal sins were less blameable, and who, therefore, 
abused the Christian doctrine of freedom as a cloak for their wicked 
ness. The passage, Col. ii. 8, respecting philosophy and vain deceit 
(KEV?) dTrdrrj), cannot be compared here, for it relates to persons of 
a scrupulous, ascetic tendency (Col. ii. 20, seq.) But here, too, 
there is no intimation that such false teachers were in the churches 
to which Paul writes ; he seems only to warn them against such as 
will come there. (Ver. 6. Compare the parallel passage, Col. iii. 5. 
On viol rift aTTeideiag see at Eph. ii. 2. The expression denotes, in 
the first place, the Gentiles who practised such vices in the mass ; 
but, secondly, all those, too, who let themselves be led into such sins. 
Ver. 7. On cn^/zero^of, see iii. 6.) 

Vers. 8-11. That communion with those who walk carnally 
must be put an end to, Paul deduces from the contrast of his read 
ers present state with their previous one. They were, as Gentiles, 
darkness, i. e., they belonged to the element of darkness and to its 
prince, as they now are light and belong to the Lord of light, through 
communion with him, the original light. (John i. 4.) Hence follows 
the necessity of walking as children of the light, i. e., of producing 
fruits of the light, and to that end of carefully searching what the 
Lord s will is. (Comp. vers. 15, 17.) Darkness, on the other hand, 
is represented as the element which is incapable of producing fruits. 
"What it produces is only deceitful show. In 1 Thess. v. 4, seq., is 

EPHESIANS V. 12. 127 

found a parallel entirely similar between light and darkness, and 
those who belong to them. See also 2 Cor. vi. 14. (Ver. 8. On 
Tettva 0o)To$- see at 1 Thess. v. 5. The participle doKindfrvreg con 
nects itself with TteptTra-el-e, so that a colon cannot stand after 
the verb. The parenthetical clause, 6 yap Kapnbg rov 0wT6f, K. ~. A., 
would seem especially to form the antithesis to the " deceiving with 
vain words," on which account also dyaduavvr), diKaioavvrj, and aA^- 
Osia are named, and not such virtues as form the antithesis to -nopveia, 
K. r. A., in ver. 3. The reading tyurog, in ver. 9, is, on extrinsic and 
intrinsic grounds, to be preferred to the reading of the text. rec. 
(m evfj,aTo^ ), which we may suppose to be a gloss from Gal. T. 22. 
On dyaOuovvr) see Kom. xv. 14 ; Gal, v. 22 ; 2 Thess. i. 11. Ver. 
11. The Zpya OKOTOV$ are those named in ver. 3, seq. But the epi 
thet dudprroig surprised even the copyists ; it was therefore arbitra 
rily altered into dKaOdproig or draKroig. For iviclced works seem to 
be equally fruits too, only fruits of darkness. [Comp. Matth. vii. 17.] 
But (kap-rof means not only " without fruit, unfruitful," but also 
" useless, fruitless." That which darkness produces is merely, there 
fore, to be designated as something which does not deserve the name 
of a fruit, which has only its appearance, without the reality. Light 
alone has real power of production ; it alone can create works which 
bear in them the eternal luminous nature, and follow him who ac 
complishes them into eternity, Eev. xiv. 13.) 

Ver. 12. The last words of ver. 11, juaAAov 6s ical t-Aey^ere, but 
rather also reprove them, form the transition to ver. 12 ; the yap 
connects itself with them. The juaAAov 6e KOI ihey%eiv forms a cli 
max to urj ovyKotvuvelv, " not only have no part in such works of 
darkness, but rather, on the contrary, even rebuke them as chil 
dren of the light," dictis et factis luce dignis, as Bengel expresses 
himself. While, therefore, ovyKoivuvelv indicates a sinking down to 
the Gentile level, t-Aey^eiv supposes a raising of the Gentiles, and of 
those who are similar to them, to the Christian standard. It is, 
therefore, not a mere declaration that those things are disgraceful, 
without any effect on the sinner, but they%eiv involves the conviction 
of the sinner ; it is " to convince by rebuke, to work the conversion 
of." But how does ver. 12 unite itself to this with its particle yap, 
which assigns a reason for what precedes ? The words ra KOV^TI yi- 
vofieva VTT avr&v are = tpyotf rov onorovg in ver. 11 ; they do not 
mean to declare that it is not and cannot be known what they do, 
because it is done secretly (for the apostle both here and in Kom. i. 
openly declares what they do); but only to designate the actions 
as shunning the light, as such -that the conscience of the very 
persons who do them condemns them. The following words, ala- 
%p6v ion Kal Atyetv, express the enormity of these scandalous vices ; 
" it is disgraceful not only to commit such things, but even to 

128 EPHESIANS V. 13. 

express them ; they are too filthy even to be spoken of." This 
thought connects itself, through yap, in a manner perfectly natural, 
with the fiakhov de nal t-Aey^ere, founding the necessity for the rebuke 
on the magnitude of the offences : " rather rebuke them even, for 
their sin is so great that they urgently need awaking out of their 
dark sleep of sin" (ver. 14). The magnitude of the sin is thus meant 
to move pity in the hearts of believers, and that is to incite them to 
save the lost ones. 

Harless makes yap depend on p) ovyKoivuveire, and refers only 
ver. 13 to ^Aey^ere ; but this overleaping the verb which stands last, 
and introducing the entire succeeding discussion, is utterly without 
support. Meier s interpretation is also to be designated as en 
tirely erroneous. He understands Aeyeiv of " the mere indifferent 
speaking and recounting such secretly-committed vices, which is of 
itself also infamous and low." This indifferent relating he would 
have to form a contrast with eAey^etv, " the openly blaming to one s 
face." But the passage does not contain the slightest intimation 
that Paul intended a contrast between Aeyeiv and eAey^efv. 

Ver. 13. But the main difficulty in this passage has been found 
in verse 13, the proverb-like conciseness of which no doubt involves 
a certain obscurity ;* however, if we have rightly defined eAey^etv, 
wh&t/ollows links itself naturally with the foregoing. Paul intends 
now partly to describe more accurately the influence of the t-Ay%v in 
the salvation of the sinner, partly to represent it as secured in its 
success, and this by applying to it the contrast of light and dark 
ness commenced at ver. 8. Light, as the Divine element of life, he 
designates as the principle which illumines darkness with all that is 
done in it, i. e., which manifests it in its nature and frightful form ; 
but at the same time also light, by its creative power, metamor 
phoses darkness and its works, and makes them light themselves. 
It follows then from this that light alone is the true reality which 
has the power to scare and dissipate darkness into its nothingness ; 
therefore, where light is, as in believers (ver. 8, $&$ iv /cvptu), there 
is also the certainty of victory over darkness, if they only dare 
to rebuke it. Thus then the fob Aeyet eyetpe, K. r. A., in verse 14 
is closely united with what precedes, for the rousing voice t ; yepe, 
dvdo-a, awake, arise, is exactly the ehsy%eiv recommended to the 
faithful by the appostle in verse 11, and the illumination, which 
Christ performs, is = to the being manifested by the light (VTTO rov 
(/>WTO fyavEQovodai) in verse 13. 

Now if, after this statement of the general connexion, we con 
sider details, it is, first of all, clear that rd de -ndvra &ey%6pfva refers 
back to the epya anorovg, rd Kpvfprj yiv6fj.eva } so that the sense is this : 

* Kuinoel s dissertation on Eph. v. 6-14 in Velthusen s, Kuinoel s, and Ruperti s 
Collection of TheoL Essays, vol. iii. Dp. 113, seq. 

EPHESIANS V. 14. 129 

"but if all these things are reproved, they will be illuminated by 
the light, and made manifest in their nature." The peculiarity of 
this passage consists in the circumstance that Paul does not adhere 
to the term favepovaOai merely in the idea of " being illuminated, 
and by that means made manifest in their nature ;" but conceives 
evil s being illuminated as at the same time a metamorphosis of evil 
into the nature of the light. To the interpreter who overlooks this, 
the following words, " for whatever is made manifest is light" (ndv 
yap TO Qavepovpevov $>$ tart), must be inexplicable. He is tempted 
to take (fxavepwfjevov as middle, and to understand the clause thus : 
" for the light is the element which makes all manifest." But it is 
against this interpretation, first, that just before $avepov~ai is used 
passively, and the same word can scarcely immediately after be taken 
as middle; second, that </>w? as the element of light would require the 
article ; lastly, that the position of ndv renders it necessarily the sub 
ject, and 0wc the predicate ; were 0w? the subject, the words would 
at least have to be placed thus : </>w? TO nav ^avepovpsv6v ea-i. The 
words must, therefore, be taken, " for all things which are illumi 
nated by the light are themselves light." The thought is unquestion 
ably remarkable ; for it might be said that light by no means always 
exercises that transforming agency. A sinner can be reproved by 
the light without admitting it into his heart, and changing his life ; 
thus, to particularize, at God s judgment-seat the devil and all the 
wicked are reproved by the light, without still becoming light. 
Paul, no doubt, was led to this application of QavepovoOai by verse 
8, where it is said that Christians, who were darkness, are now light 
in the Lord ; so, he means to say, can those too who are still dark 
ness, and perform works of darkness, through the light in you be 
made light, be enlightened. 

Ver. 14. The sentiment of ver. 14 is most intimately connected 
with the above : wherefore (because success cannot be wanting to 
the influence of light on darkness) the Scriptures (Isaiah Ix. 1) also 
summon us to awake from sleep and rise up from death, both of 
which Christ performs through his illumination. For sleep and 
death are figures, which, from the nature of the case, coincide with 
the idea of darkness in its figurative sense. (See on 1 Thess. v. 5, 
seq.) But a difficulty was found in.ver. 14, inasmuch as the formula 
610 Aeye, scil. i] ypafaj, is usually employed in Scripture quotations. 
(See iv. 8.) But this exact passage is found nowhere in the Old 
Testament. It was assumed then that Paul either used here an 
apocryphal work, or borrowed the words from some Christian hymn ; 
this last view, which Theodoret had already proposed, was approved 
by Michaelis, Storr, Flatt, and others. But the formula fob Uyei 
would scarcely have been used for such utterances of uncanouical 
writings. Khenferd insisted that Paul here referred to a saying of 
VOL. V. 9 

130 EPHESIANS V. 15-18. 

Christ s which had been preserved by mere oral tradition, such, as are 
mentioned Acts xx. 35 ; but certainly the phrase nal iTufyavaa aoi 6 
Xptarog does not suit that view. But all these propositions are un 
necessary, as it can be proved that Isaiah Ix. 1 contains the funda 
mental ideas of this passage, which are only quoted by Paul freely, 
according to his custom, and inserted into the context of his dis 
course. The Hebrew words arc, rnt ^_y rrrr -rs^ ^-s *o 3 "^ K ^. p- 
The LXX. have translated those words, </>am ycw, 0ombi;, leprwcraA?)^, 
"jKsi yap oov ~b (pug nal ij 66%a avpiov ira OK dvare-aXKev. With, all its 
difference in form, our passage corresponds with the above very well 
in idea, as is convincingly shewn by Harless ad h. 1. (On the form 
dvdara see Winer s Gr. xiv. 1. A.B.D.E.F.G. have t yetpat instead 
of, and it is perhaps with Lachmann to be preferred. But 
Fritzsche [in Marc. p. 55, scq.] defends tyeipe. On the form KTTI- 
fiavaei see Winer s Gr. xv. p. 82. The readings tru^avaet coi 6 Xpta- 
rog } and ~iipavaei rov Xpiarov, which latter one D. supports, seem 
to owe their origin solely to the copyists ; the metaphor of the light 
imperatively requires i-rn^avaet. Comp. 2 Peter i. 19.) 

Vers. 15, 16. After this. Paul again resumes the above exhorta 
tion (ver. 8), and summons his readers to a circumspect walk, which 
appreciates the relations of things, and therein shews wisdom. 
Comp. the parallel passage Col. iv. 5, where the further subordinate 
definition ~pb$ rovg efw is added, which, according to the context of 
the whole passage [see vers. 6, 7], must here too be supplied.) There 
ye find too the phrase K^ayopa^o^evoi, rbv Kaipov, which Luther with 
evident incorrectness translates, "adapt yourselves to the time." 
That acceptation also, which understands it of the diligent use of 
time, is inapposite, for then on al i]\i^ai TTovrjpai elai could not 
follow ; the shortness of life on earth would rather need to be in 
sisted on. The days are called evil (in the first instance those of 
the then time, in the more extended sense of the whole aluv ovro$ } 
in which sin has dominion), because of the manifold temptations 
which beset the believer. With regard to these l%ayopd&iv rbv 
naLQov can be referred only to the provident, prudent use of circum 
stances for the salvation of one s self and of others. Beza has already 
correctly observed, that the phrase is taken from the figure of a pro 
vident merchant. who uses everything for his ends. The parable in 
Luke xvi. 1, seq., also recommends this prudence. (Ver. 16. On 
the phrase r^t-pai -ovqpai see vi. 13 ; Ps. xlix. 5 ; Prov. xv. 15.) 

Vers. 17, 18. Therefore, continues Paul (viz., because the time 
is evil), be not dfaoveg. That dtipoves is not = dao^ot is self-evident ; 
they differ as oofaa and ovveaiq or <j>p6vr]oig. (See at i. 8.) Here the 
ovvemg is designated as that which searches out God s will, and at 
the same time also follows it, which gives as the characteristic sign 
of its opposite dtypoavvr), the following one s own will and one s own 

EPHESIANS V. 19, 20. 131 

desires. In the same way, piety is in the Old Testament treated 
as true prudence, godlessness, on the contrary, as folly. UeOvoKea- 
6ai olvu, being drunk with ivine, is put by synecdoche for all the 
modes of gratifying one s own lusts (vrteovefip, ver. 3), as appears by 
the addition iv J KG-IV daoma, in which is riotous excess. Pamper 
ing of the flesh bears in itself all other moral errors, especially the 
sins of lust, because it invests the flesh with dominion, and brings 
the vov$ into a servile relation. Paul insists here on that form of 
sin in particular, in order to make more marked the contrast with 
the TrkrjpovaOai. KV 7TVEvfian } being filled with the Spirit. Man in his 
[ia-ain-r\q rov voog (iv. 18) feels the want of a strengthening through 
spiritual influences from without ; instead of seeking for these in the 
Holy Spirit, he in his blindness has recourse to the natural spirit, 
i. e., to wine and strong drinks. Hence under the legal economy, 
the Old Testament, in the institution of the Nazarenes, recommends 
abstinence from wine and strong drinks, in order to preserve the soul 
free from all merely natural spiritual influences, and by that means 
to make it more susceptible of the operations of the Divine Spirit. 
(Comp. Numbers vi. 1, seq.) The context by no means indicates 
any special references in this exhortation ; " be not drunk with 
wine," e. g., to abuses at the Agapas, as they are reproved at 1 
Cor. xi. 21 (a supposition which Koppe and Holzhausen defend). 
(The reading ovviere for ovvtvv-eg, which Lachmann has admitted, 
on the authority of A.B., is to be considered as a mere facilitating 
correction. Aauria is found Tit. i. 6 ; 1 Pet. iv. 4 ; dffwrwf Luke xv. 
13, in the meaning of vita luxuriosa, a loose, dissipated life. The 
Spirit, with which the believer is to be filled, is of course the Holy 
Spirit, not his own; the addition ayt w, however, which some minus- 
cull have, is spurious.) 

Vers. 19, 20. In conclusion, Paul names, as effects of the being 
filled with the Holy Ghost and the spiritual joy proceeding there 
from, the public adoration of God in songs of praise, the purport of 
which is thanksgiving to God in Christ s name. No doubt, the im 
plied contrast which this spiritual joy, bursting forth into songs 
of praise, forms with the carnal joy which is wont to prevail at 
worldly banquets, where the peOvaKeoOai olvw takes place, floated 
before Paul s mind here. In vcr. 19, however, the XaXovvrec Kav-olg, 
speaking to one another, forms an antithesis with the adovr^ and 
^a/Uovref iv ry Kapdia, singing and making melody in the heart. 
TL\\Q former denotes the public adoration of God in the religious as 
semblies, the latter the silent inward communion with God in the* 
heart. We see, therefore, from this passage, that even in the apos 
tle s time singing was an element of Divine worship. According to 
1 Cor. xiv. 15, seq., the speaking with tongues also manifested itself 
in a poetical shape, and the improvised poems seeni to have been 

132 EPHESIANS V. 19, 20. 

immediately delivered in musical measures. (See the details in the 
Comm. on 1 Cor. xiv.) Thus Pliny too relates (Ep. x. 96) of the 
Christians : carmen Christo quasi Deo dicunt secum invicem. Un 
fortunately, of that primeval Christian poetry there has been next 
to nothing preserved ; only under the name of Clemens of Alexan 
dria a hymn of, perhaps, primeval date has survived, which I have 
had printed. (See my Monurn. Hist. Eccl., vol. 1, p. 279, seq.) 
That assemblies for public worship are here spoken of is like 
wise shewn by the parallel passage Col. iii. 16, 17, in which teaching, 
properly so called, is put forward in the words : ev Trdoq oofyia diddo- 
tcovreg nal vovderovvTeg tavrovg, in all wisdom teaching, etc. Bohmer 
finds in those words an indication of the universal priesthood of the 
first Christians j but the diddaneiv and vovOsrelv t-aurouf, i. e. : ak"kr\- 
liovg } does not exclude order in the form of instruction which re 
quired appointed teachers. See the details on this point in the 
interpretation of the pastoral epistles. As to the synonyms i/wA^df, 
vfj,vog } wd?/, the first properly denotes every song performed v/ith a 
musical accompaniment. It is, however, highly improbable that in 
the congregations of the primitive church instrumental accompani 
ments to the singing were already used ; ipatyoi are probably here 
the Psalms of the Old Testament, which passed from the synagogue 
into the church-service. "Tfivog is every song, the main contents of 
which are praise of and thanks to God, therefore a song of praise ; 
aid??, on the contrary, may equally have another purport ; the epithet 
TTvevnariKog defines the songs here meant, as such as are of genuine 
religious purport. The same terms are also found in the parallel 
passage, Col. iii. 16. The reading napdiaig has probably intruded 
itself into the text here from Colossians, though there too napdia is 
found altered from this passage in some MSS. The- peculiar addition, 
$v %dpiTi (Col. iii. 16), is not to be referred to the charm of the song 
(for it is iv -alg Kap6i(ug } therefore purely inward), but to the grateful 
feeling of the believer. "Aideiv Kal i/>a/U,ejv is to be taken collect 
ively as denoting inward spiritual joy. In ver. 20 v^lp iravruv is 
to be taken as neuter, " for all that befalls you, whether good or 
evil." The discourse here is not of prayer for others. On the for 
mula -KV dvofian, = bus, see at Matth. xxi. 9, xxiii. 39 ; John ix. 13. 
On TGJ 9eu> KCU Trarpt see i. 3. Col. iii. 17 adds further : ro> Sew 
not Trarpl 6i a v r o i>, as every prayer is rendered acceptable to God 
the Father through Christ. 

EPHESIANS V. 21, 22. 133 

(v. 21 vi. 9.) 

Paul comes now, in the progress of his exhortations, to marriage, 
on which he expresses himself at length (vers. 21-33), and that hy 
drawing a parallel between the relation of Christ and the church 
and that of man and wife. To the consideration of marriage are 
further annexed moral exhortations, which have for their object the 
various relations of families, particularly the relations of children 
and parents, of servants and masters, which exhortations are con 
tained in vi. 1-9. The common link by which these ethical precepts 
are held together is the idea of subordination, of obedience. As 
Paul wishes above all to bring this home to his readers in its vast 
importance, he always begins his representation with the party 
bound to obedience (ver. 22 with the wives, vi. 1 with the children, 
vi. 5 with the servants), and then first introduces the other side of 
the subject, viz., that those who are charged with authority are to 
exercise it in a mild and religious temper. (In verse 25 husbands 
are exhorted, vi. 4 fathers, vi. 9 masters.) This discussion on mar 
riage, finally (v. 21-33), is, along with 1 Cor. vii., the leading pas 
sage on this important institution, which includes in equal measure 
the elements of church and state. There (1 Cor. vii.), however, 
marriage is treated of rather in its actual appearance as more or less 
out of conformity with its ideal ; here, on the contrary, it is con 
ceived altogether in its ideal dignity, as the copy of that spiritual 
marriage formed by Christ and the church. 

Vers. 21, 22. Whether vTroraaaofj^voi d/*,Xrjhoi$ iv <d/3<jj Xpiorov 
(verse 21) is to be referred to what precedes or what follows, seems 
doubtful. In the former case it must, with AaAovvre? and the other 
participles in verses 19, 20, depend on Tchrjpovcde iv TivevpaTC (verse 
18); so Winer (Gr., 45, 6 ; p. 314) and Lachmann. But, first, we 
scarcely see how the exhortation to subordination can be introduced 
into the summons to spiritual joy, and, secondly, the TO> 6eu5 KOI 
-na-QL forms clearly the conclusion of the preceding discussion, so 
that another participle cannot possibly be joined on. But, if it 
be united with what follows, its position at the beginning seems 
unnatural. For the supposition of Calvin, Koppe, Flatt, and 
others, that the participle stands for the imperative, is grammati 
cally inadmissible. Its connexion with what follows is made still 
more difficult by the uncertainty of the reading in verse 22. B. 
leaves vrrordaaeaOe out altogether ; D.E.F.Gr. have it before rolg 
Idiot?. On the other hand, A. 17, 57, and other inferior critical au- 

134 EPHESIANS V. 23, 24. 

thorities, have vrroTaooKoOuaav. However, all these deviations seem 
to Lave arisen only through the difficulty of vTroraaaonevot (verse 21). 
Probably the case stands thus with the passage : verse 21 declares 
the principle of subordination quite comprehensively for all the re 
lations which are afterwards treated of singly, to which then, first, 
in verse 22 ; the exhortation to married women is subjoined. Thus 
the participle v-rroTaaa6[j,vot, is most simply explained in accordance 
with the context by the assumption of an ellipsis : " all believers 
are subordinate one to another in the fear of Christ." The limiting 
clause KV </>d/3co Xpio-ov excludes all slavish fear ; the fear of Christ 
is the tender timidity that follows in the train of love. (Cf. verse 
33.) Finally, the reading Xpia-ov is guaranteed by A.B.D.E.F.G., 
and is no doubt preferable to the readings Qeov } tcvpiov, Irjoov. To 
exclude all severity, ver. 22 adds &g ro> /cvptw, for which the parallel 
passage Col. iii. 18 has wf dvijitev iv icvpiu. Wives are, therefore, to 
be subject not to their husbands as such, but to God s ordinance in 
the institution of marriage ; just as the Christian in his relation to 
government serves not man, but the ordinance of God, of which 
men are the representatives. Finally, the addition Idiots cannot with 
Meier be referred to the right of property, which, according to the 
view of the whole ancient world, the husband had over the wife ; 
the following representation does not imply such a conception of 
marriage. Men are designated by it as married men. (See the 
passages quoted by Harless at p. 490.) 

Vers. 23, 24. The necessity of this subordination of the wife to 
the husband is deduced from the divinely ordained relation of the 
two parties to each other. The man is the head, i. e. } the directing, 
determining power of the wife, as Christ is of the church. (See on 
1 Cor. xi. 3, seq. ; Eph. i. 22, iv. 15.) As, therefore, the latter is 
subject to Christ, consequently is determined and guided in its will 
by him, so the wife by the husband. All idle dreams of an antici 
pated emancipation of women are annihilated by this energetic dec 
laration of Paul. With these dreams must also be reckoned 
Kiickert s (ad h. 1.) supposing that in this declaration of Paul, as 
to the relation of the wife towards her husband, there is expressed a 
remnant of still unsubdued Judaism in him, as if that alone, not 
God s ordinance, had introduced the subjection of the wife to her 
husband. Only the KV iravri, in everything, scil. vTroraaoKoOuaaVj 
might be viewed as an exaggeration. The church is, it is true, sub 
ject to Christ absolutely in everything, because only holy claims on 
her proceed from him ; but the husband, as being a sinner, cannot 
require of his wife obedience to unholy demands. Nor is this the 
apostle s meaning. As the unconditional command to obey those in 
authority (see on Bom. xiii. 1) involves of course the condition that 
those iii authority enjoin nothing against God s commandments, and 

EPHESIANS V. 23, 24. 135 

therefore the law " to obey God more than men" always has prece 
dence of all others, so also here. Precisely because wives are to be 
subject to their husbands as to the Lord, they cannot obey their 
husbands against the Lord s will. But, as Paul has Christian mar 
riages in view, it was needless to insist particularly on that self-evi 
dent restriction. Undoubtedly, however, the commandment relates 
not to kind husbands only, but also to the unreasonable and way 
ward ; as long as the demands of the husband keep within the do 
main of things morally indifferent contravene no objective Divine 
commands it is the wife s duty to obey them. The clause avrb? 
acorrjp rov ow/iarof, with dA/la following, alone requires particular no 
tice in these verses. For, that in this clause nai and iori are, with 
Lachmann, to be erased, the MSS. A.B.D.E.F.G. decidedly prove ; 
but certainly tori must be supplied. The main question, however, 
is : what is the object of the entire observation which seems to in 
terrupt the connexion, and how is this strange-seeming dAAa to be 
taken ? Harless (p. 488, seq.) thinks that Paul, in the entire sec 
tion down to ver. 33, " shews himself controlled by a double pur 
pose." He intends, according to Harless, to give instruction not 
merely on the relation of man and wife, but also on that of Christ 
to the church, without however asserting between the two an abso 
lute parallel. Harless accordingly takes dAAd (ver. 24) and 7rA?/v 
(ver. 33) as particles used to recall the reader from a digression to 
the main subject. But although this seems quite suitable in the 
case of Tr/Up, in ver. 33, because the thought in ver. 32 manifestly 
interrupts the parallel, yet the clause avrbg ourijp rov au/j-arog can 
scarcely be taken as a digression. Why this observation, that Christ 
is the Saviour of his body, if it is to be supposed a digression, as it 
was already known to the readers from i. 22, and why, after this 
rhapsodical digression, a formal resumption of the main subject with 
an dAAa ? Winer (Gr., 53, 10, 1) has correctly explained the con 
junction dAAa in this connexion. AAAd here simply introduces the 
proof drawn from what precedes. In ver. 23 it was said, " the 
husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the 
church." Now from this parallel the apostle infers the necessity of 
the subordination of the wife ; " but, as the church is subject unto 
Christ, so now must wives also be subject to their husbands." Only, 
we must supply here not vrcordooovrat, but v-xoraaGKcOuaav ; from the 
actual subordination of the church to Christ, Paul deduces the obli 
gation of the subordination of the wife to her husband. According 
to this, then, the clause alrbg awrr/p rov aufiaroc; appears by no 
means as a digression, but merely as an apposition to Ke^aA?) r/Jf 
(KKXrjaiag, which has the sole object of setting forth Christ more 
clearly as /ce^aAr/, by denoting the church as the <rw/ja which he gov- 

136 EPHESIANS V. 25, 26. 

eras. (In ver. 24 Idioig is decidedly spurious, and is erased from the 
text by the better critics.) 

Vers. 25, 26. After this exhortation to wives, Paul subjoins the 
one to husbands (comp. Col. iii. 19), on their side, not to abuse their 
power, but to love their wives, and that so as Christ loves the church, 
? . e., in self-devoting, self-sacrificing love, which had for its object 
the sanctification of the church. This self-sacrificing, sanctifying 
love, Paul requires of husbands also in marriage. (See ver. 28, 
o v r to g \i. e,, as Christ s sanctifying work was before described] 
tysiXovoiv, K. r. A.) 

It might be said that surely the wife also is to practise this self- 
sacrificing, sanctifying conduct towards her husband ; but from the 
normal position of the sexes the positive influence must always proceed 
from, the man ; and therefore the exhortation finds its appropriate 
place here, not in depicting the relation of the wife to her husband. 
It is finally self-evident, and inherent in the nature of such a 
parallel, in which every trait does not accurately fit, that the sepa 
rate expressions have each their bearing, indeed, but must not be 
pressed. Thus, while it is said of Christ : lavrbv -naoiduKEv vneo av 
Trig, " He gave himself up to death as a vicarious sacrifice for her ;" 
in reference to marriage, Paul would have understood by this merely 
a love capable of self-sacrifice even unto death. So KaOapicag rw Aourpw 
TOV vda-og refers, in the case of Christ, to baptism, and the new birth 
effected by it ; in reference to marriage, it merely designates love 
bent upon moral purification. To refer this language to the Jewish 
custom of the bathing of the bride before the nuptial night, reduces 
it to insipidity. Still less can a digression be supposed here ; the 
essential ideas, so far as they can be referred to marriage, are, in Paul s 
purpose, to apply to it also, so far as they are applicable. The closing 
words alone of ver. 26 require a particular consideration. In the 
combination Iva avrr]v dytdaq naOaptaag we are to take dyid&iv as a 
consequence of Kadapifav : " that he may sanctify her, after he had pre 
viously purified her by the bath," i.e., baptism (comp. Tit. iii. 5, where 
baptism is called Ao{5rpov Trahiyyeveoiag). But the explanation of KV 
prjfiaTi is uncertain. Most of the interpretations exhibit themselves 
as false at the first glance ; e. g., that of Koppe, which unites iv pij- 
fian Iva, which, as he thought, stands for the Hebrew ">N 15- V?, 
which phrase, however, is never so rendered by the LXX. Again, its 
position forbids our uniting it with dyidorj ; otherwise the analogy 
of dyid&iv KV dhrjdeia (cf. John xvii. 7) would warrant the combina 
tion. It can be joined only with Acwrpdv TOV vda-og. In this con 
nexion it has been usually referred either to the ordinance of Christ 
in the institution of baptism, by which the bath receives its purify 
ing power, or to the word of reconciliation and forgiveness of sins. 
But in both relations the article could scarcely be wanting before 

EPHESIANS Y. 27-29. 137 

, as, according to them, Paul would have had a definite word 
in his mind. Ev pr^ia-i rather stands here equivalent in sense to 
tV TTvevfiari (ii. 22), intimating that baptism is no mere bath, but a 
bath in the Word, i. e. } one by which man is born again of water 
and of the Spirit (John iii. 5). Thus, in 1 Pet. i. 23 ; James i. 18, 
the Word of God is represented as the seed of the new birth. Prjfia 
accordingly is here, as in Heb. i. 3, xi. 3, a designation of the Divine 
power and efficacy in general, which, from its nature, must be a spi 
ritual one. But in Christianity the Word does not appear in the 
indeterminate form of universal spiritual efficacy, as in the creation, 
but the Spirit manifests himself only in the Word of Truth, which 
is in Christ. On this union of the Spirit with the Word of Christ, 
nay, on their respective identity, see particulars at vi. 17. 

Vei 27. The idea of the Iva dyiday is further carried out and 
described in its results. Christ wishes to present the church for 
himself, i. e., for his joy and glory, in splendour and without spot. 
In portraying the spotless beauty Paul plainly has in view the image 
of the bride ; for a proof that we have here not to do with a digres 
sion. As Christ purifies and cleanses the church, so likewise a 
faithful husband wishes to deliver his wife from every moral stain. 
(On napia~dveiv } in such a combination, see at Rom. vi. 13, xii. 1 ; 
2 Cor. xi. 2 ; Col. i. 22. A.B.D.E.F.Gr. read avrog for av-^v, whence 
G-riesbach and Lachmann have properly received it into the text. 
2-n-Z/lof is found nowhere again but at 2 Pet. ii. 13. Pv rig does not 
occur again in the New Te stament.) 

Vers. 28, 29. This description of the love of Christ is applied 
to the love which the husband owes to his wife. Ovrug thus refers 
back to what precedes, embracing the two points of self-sacrifice and 
of sanctification ; neither can be wanting in a really Christian mar 
riage, in which love rests not merely on a sensual attachment, but 
is to have a moral basis. This retrospective reference shews clearly 
that vers. 26, 27 contain no digression ; Paul refers the individual 
traits of the love of Christ to marriage, of course so far as they are 
applicable to human conditions. But here a progress in the chain 
of argument is shewn in the fact that Paul will have the wife loved 
by her husband " as his own body." As the church is called Christ s 
body, thus also man and wife form an unity (ver. 31). But here the 
antithesis of " body" is not " spirit," but " head" (ver. 23), which is 
certainly the organ of the spirit ; in ver. 33 &? tavrov stands direct 
ly. The intimateness of the connexion in a genuine marriage is 
therefore such that the wife is a part of self; " whoever loves his wife 
loves himself." As, therefore, care of the flesh naturally proceeds 
from self-love, thus too is it with the love of the husband, and with 
the relation of Christ to the church ; the opposite of this, the want 
of love in the husband, is accordingly something unnatural. Finally 

138 EPHESIANS V. 30. 

" flesh" (adpg) in ver. 29 lias by no means the subordinate idea of 
something sinful ; ow/ra might have been indifferently employed ; 
odpt; is chosen merely to make the physical neediness of the ac5ja 
more apparent. It might seem, finally, that too much is asserted 
when it is said in ver. 29 : ovdeig TTOTS, K. r. X. Paul himself warns 
(Col. ii. 23) against false asceticism, which deprives the body of what 
is necessary for it. Meyerhoff (on the Ep. to the Colossians, p. 144) 
declares himself strong!) 7 on this point. He finds, without any 
foundation, in the whole section about marriage an attack upon false 
asceticism which rejected marriage, and in ver. 19 he lays a stress on 
TTOTK, and refers it to past ages under Heathenism. Then no one did 
such a thing as hate his own flesh," with which we are to supply : 
" but some do now" This view of the passage requires no refuta 
tion ; there is not the slightest trace of controversy in the whole 
comparison between the matrimonial relation and the relation of 
Christ to the church. Besides, there are found also before Christ, 
among Gentiles and Jews, traces of strict asceticism ; although 
more rarely in the West, yet certainly in the East. We can only 
say, Paul makes the statement, ovdel^ yap TTOTS Kfitarjae rrjv tavrov 
adpKa, thus generally, because cases of an opposite description are at 
bottom only aberrations of the mind ; the love of one s own body 
and life is an essential natural instinct ; it may, indeed, be led 
astray by false theories, but never annihilated. 

Yer. 30. In what follows Paul proves in detail that the unity 
of Christ with the church is not a merely figurative, metaphorical, 
nor even a purely spiritual one, but also a truly bodily one, and that 
too so that in it he has again before his eyes the comparison of mar 
riage. The relation of Christ to the church is also described after 
Gen. ii. 23, which passage refers immediately to the relation of man 
and wife. Because the wife is taken from the man, and in marriage 
becomes one flesh with him (verse 31), the man in his wife loves 
himself ; thus Christ also loves in the church his own body, since we 
are taken from him. This t/c TTJS aapKog avrov, K. r. A., cannot, of 
course, be referred, as by Chrysostom, Augustine, and others, to 
Christ s incarnation, for it must have been said of that conversely : 
" He took on him our flesh and bone ;" but to the imparting his glori 
fied corporeity to believers through the communion of his flesh 
and blood. It is not primarily spiritual birth which is here men 
tioned ; the corporeal aspect is both here and in verse 31 made too 
emphatically prominent ; it is the self-communication of his Divine- 
human nature, by which Christ makes us his flesh and bone. He 
gives to his followers his flesh to eat, his blood to drink, KK-ptyei nal 
Od/.-L TI]V iiut^ijalav. The reference of the phrase, KK T% oapubg 
avrov Kai iic T&V bareuv avrov, ofhisflcsli and of Jiis bones, merely to 
the general idea of an inward communion, would leave the depth of 

EPHESIANS V. 31. 139 

the sentiment of the absolutely unexhausted ; Christ, who assumed 
our nature (John i. 14), changes us, in return, into himself (2 Pet. 
i. 4). The omission of in r?~^ oapKog OOTKUV av-ov in A.B. can only 
be considered as an oversight ; Lachmann has omitted them with 
out sufficient grounds. 

Ycr. 31. To the words from Gen. ii. 23 is immediately sub 
joined, with the omission of some words which were of no import 
ance to Paul s argument, the following verse, Gen. ii. 24, which is 
quoted literally from the LXX., except that they read, instead of 
dvrl rovrov, the equivalent formula tvetcev rovrov = "i5~>?, and in 
stead of r:pooiio^7]6riaerai -xpog they have the dative. The Greek 
here, as also in the LXX., deviates from the Hebrew text especially 
in ffivinsc ol 6vo. while in the original text the words are : ins it-rA wi. 

DO y O r V r r ; r : 

This emphatic mention of the ol 6vo is considered as an establish 
ment of monogamy, which is nowhere else in Scripture expressly 
enjoined. According to the context in Genesis the passage quoted 
refers to the relation of the sexes in marriage ; as the woman was orig 
inally one with the man and is taken from his body, so too she again 
becomes one with him in marriage, and indeed not merely one spirit, 
which also happens in friendship, but also one flesh. Because, then, 
the unity is original, and the duality yearns to return again to 
unity, man will give up the most intimate ties even, in order to at 
tain that unity. The exhortation to husbands to love their wives 
gains therefrom a powerful support ; the object, for which the hus 
band leaves father and mother, must also necessarily lay claim to 
his entire love. But as, both in what precedes and in what follows, 
the discourse is of the relation of Christ to the church, Paul s mean 
ing seems to be, that that relation finds its analogy in this verse 
also. But how is this to be taken ? That the love of the sexes, 
which has received its holy consecration from God the Lord in mar 
riage, is a reflection and an echo of the eternal, holy love of the 
Son of God towards man that therefore the attachment of the 
husband to his wife and their intimate conjunction into one flesh 
can be compared with the intimate, essential conjunction of the Son 
of God with the church into one unity is clear enough, and pro 
ceeds unmistakably from the spirit of the whole parallel. But the 
leaving of one s father and mother can have no special reference here 
to the relation of Christ to the Chruch ; for the only conceivable 
reference would be to his incarnation, and that, as has been already 
observed on ver. 30, is to be excluded here, because, according to it, 
Christ took on him our flesh and blood, not we his. The reference 
therefore, frequently made, of the itaraAetyei TO- -arepa KOI rtjv 
pirrfya av-ov to that leaving of the Father and of heaven, or of the 
upper Jerusalem (Gal. iv. 26), which took place in the incarnation 
of the Son of God, has no foundation in the entire scope of the ar^ 

140 EPHESIANS V. 32. 

gument. The reference of the citation to Christ and the church lies 
here in the last words only : teal TTpoaKokhrjOfive-aiadpica \L KLV. But 
the reference of these words, which relate primarily to union in mar 
riage, extends, in its application to Christ and the church, beyond 
the idea of a merely spiritual union, as, even among the Fathers, 
Theodoret, in later times, Calvin, Beza, Calovius, G-rotius, among 
the moderns, Holzhausen and Harless, have perceived. As we saw 
at ver. 20 that believers are of Christ s flesh and bone, because they 
were made partakers of his glorified corporeity ; so here too the 
" one flesh" is to be understood with reference to the communication 
of Christ s flesh and blood to his followers. This his Divine human 
nature the Saviour imparts, it is true, in faith also (see on John vi. 
45, seq.), but the most intense, most concentrated communication 
of it takes place at the Holy Communion. As, therefore, man and 
wife are, it is true, always one in love, but in the moments of mat 
rimonial conjunction, in which the peculiar property of marriage 
consists, become one flesh in an especial sense ; so too the church 
in the mass, and every congregation, as also every soul in it, is con 
stantly one spirit with Christ, the head of the body but in the 
moments of the Holy Supper the believing soul solemnizes the union 
with its Saviour in an entirely special sense, taking up his flesh and 
blood into itself, and along with it the germ of the immortal body, 
that Divine seed which does not permit one to sin (1 John iii. 9), 
from which the plant of the spiritual body grows up. It plainly 
proceeds from this interpretation that Paul does not conceive the re 
lation of the glorified body to this mortal one, such that at the re 
surrection the former is instantaneously produced by a creative act 
of God (see at 1 Cor. xv. 52, where the iv pur^ ofyOatyov, in the 
twinkling of an eye, refers only to the suddenness of the opening, 
not of the production) ; but the new body is, even while here below, 
built up through communion with the Saviour, and the imparting of 
his nature, in the mortal body ; just as in Christ himself, even be 
fore his resurrection, the glorified body was in his mortal body, and 
at times shone through the latter (see at Matth. xvii. 1, seq.), was 
communicated to the disciples at the institution of the Lord s Supper, 
and finally, at the resurrection, carne forth complete, swallowing up 
death in life. 

Ver. 32. Here now Paul breaks off the parallel, which he has 
carried through so nobly and profoundly, by breaking out into the 
exclamation : TO [worfipiov TOVTO \j,Kja to-iv, this is a great mystery, 
upon the relation of Christ to the church, therefore to the exclusion 
of marriage. The language does not indeed mean to deny a mys 
terious element in marriage also ; rather this is necessarily involved 
in the very fact of its comparison with such a mystery ; but the 
words do not refer primarily to marriage. This suffices to shew 

EPHESIANS V. 32. 141 

with what reason the Catholic divines find in this passage an aro-u- 
ment for the assertion that marriage is a sacrament, with which 
expression the Vulgate, after the usage of the early Christians, 
translates the word [ivorijpiov. Now, if we refer the communion of 
Christ with the church, described in verse 31, to spiritual com 
munion only, we cannot conceive for what reason Paul should use 
that strong expression, TO ^vo-fipiov rov-o pe-ya KO- LV. On the other 
hand, the phrase is completely accounted for by our interpretation, 
which in fact regards the relation of Christ to the church as a 
continuous miraculous process of production of a higher glorified 
life. We see in it the creative action of God, which seems out 
wardly completed, inwardly advance, and in mysterious, deeply 
hidden operation build up the temple of glorified corporeity, and at 
the same time also the great collective temple of the new heaven 
and the new earth. If, in closing this remarkable section, we cast 
another glance at the whole comparison carried through in it, it is 
surely already contained, as to its fundamental idea, in the Old 
Testament, which often describes Jehovah s relation to the people of 
Israel as that of a bridegroom. (See Ps. xlv.; Isaiah liv. 5 ; Ezek. 
xiv. 1, seq.; Hosea ii. 16, seq., and the Song of Solomon.) The 
same image is found in the New Testament, in Matth. ix. 15 ; Mark 
ii. 19 ; Luke v. 34 ; John iii. 29 ; 2 Cor. xi. 2 ; Kev. xxii. 17. 
But it is peculiar to our passage that this parallel with marriage is 
expressly extended to the glorified corporeity also, and placed in 
connexion with the special feature of marriage, sexual union. 
Greatly as marriage thus appears consecrated ; entirely un scriptural 
as appear all suspicions of it based on false asceticism ; yet, on the 
other hand, it is comprehensible that these special references to the 
mysteries of marriage may be thought dangerous to meddle with. 
In such scruples we certainly find the reason of the phenomenon, 
that so many profound interpreters have hesitated to understand 
the parallel in all the latitude unmistakably implied by the words 
of the apostle. These scruples are explicable from that pollution of 
the imagination which renders a pure contemplation of such images 
rarely possible. In liturgical and homiletical usage, therefore, they 
should undoubtedly be employed with the utmost caution ; but it is 
self-evident that a possible abuse should not deter the interpreter 
from exhibiting the comparison just as it is laid down in God s 
Word. Truth cannot shape and restrict itself according to the ex 
citability of sin, but the latter is to be mastered and in God s might 
at last to be subdued by the former. To the pure all things are 
pure, and thus too says the mouth of the chastest of ah 1 the children 
of men : " He that hath the bride is the bridegroom ; but the friend 
of the bridegroom, who stands (to wit, before the door of the bridal 
chamber) and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom s 

142 EPHESIANS V. 33 VI. 3. 

voice" (John iii. 29), in which words, just as here, the union of the 
bride and the bridegroom is an image for the communion of Christ 
and the church. 

Ver. 33.-- From the explanatory subordinate remark in verse 32 
Paul returns with TT^TJV to the discussion, and in conclusion briefly 
recapitulates once more his exhortations to husbands and wives. 
(On the oratio variata vf-islg ol nad" tva Zicaaros, see Winer s Gr. 63, 
H. 1, p. 509. On ol Kaff tva, cf. 1 Cor. xiv. 31 ; 1 Thess. v. 11 On 
the import of fyopdadai see at verse 21. "Iva (po^Tai is to be ex 
plained by the suppressed Trapa/mAw, which is usually joined with 
tVa, instead of the infinitive, in the New Testament. See Winer s 
Gr. 44, 8.) 

Chapter vi., vers. 1-3. Paul makes a transition in his exhorta 
tions from parents to children, to whom above all obedience is held 
out, as the natural duty, based on the right relation of children to 
their parents (that is the import of the oiicaiov, see on Bom. iii. 21). 
But the addition of KV Kvpiu seems to designate that this duty too is 
to be practised in the spirit of Christ ; the parallel passage, Col. 
iii. 20, has instead of it rovro yap KOTIV evdpearov KV Kvpiy. But with 
respect to this commandment Paul refers expressly to the ordinance 
of the Old Testament (Ex. xx. 12 ; Dent. v. 16), not, however, in 
order to enforce the necessity of practising it (for this is abundantly 
sustained by the nature of the relation), but to draw attention to 
the magnitude of the promise which is coupled with the faithful 
performance of this commandment. But here the phrase evro^rj 
irpuTr] KV tTrayyeAm creates a difficulty. ITpwr?/ could be understood 
of the order or of the importance of the commandment, only in 
case, as Holzhausen maintained, KVTO^TJ referred merely to such com 
mandments as relate to duties towards men, not towards God ; that 
is to say, the commandment "honour thy father and thy mother" is 
the first on the second table, which regards those duties. But the 
collation of Matth. xxii. 36, seq.; Mark xii. 28, seq., and Hebrews 
ix. 19, shews that Holzhausen s view is erroneous. We musf, there 
fore, join -pwT?/ iv t-Tiayye/Ua, so that the fourth commandment is 
designated as the first that is couched in a promise derived from Di 
vine mercy, which is quoted in verse 3. True, we are met by the 
objection, that the first commandment has a promise too. But the 
addition to the first commandment (Ex. xx. 5, 6) is no promise re 
ferring to that first commandment, but merely an entirely general 
characterization of Jehovah as the Just One, who punishes sin and 
rewards virtue. The words of the promise itself are quoted freely 
from memory (verse 3). The LXX. have Iva ev oot yKv^rai KOL Iva 
fiaicpoxpoviog JKVQ t Tu rt/g yijg rijg dyaO^g, TJV KvQiog 6 0e6f aov diduai ooi. 
Under the Old Testament economy the Divine blessing is referred to 
the earthly possession of the land of Canaan, which is promised tho 

EPHESIANS VI. 4-8. 143 

people (to whom the laws are given as a whole) on the presupposition 
of a faithful fulfilment of them, and especially of the fourth com 
mandment. Paul takes this Messing figuratively, in conformity 
with the character of the gospel (just as Matth. v. 5, on which see 
the Comm.), and looks for it beyond this earth in the kingdom of 
God. Compare the typical acceptation of Canaan also in He 
brews iv. 1, seq. (In verse 1 Lachmann leaves out iv Kvpfo, on the 
authority of B.D.F.Gr. ; but probably it is left out in those MSS. 
only because it is wanting in Col. iii. 20. Ver. 3. MaKpo%p6vio$ is 
not found again in the New Testament.) 

Ver. 4. The exhortation makes a transition from children to 
fathers. These are named alone, because the education of adoles 
cent children is intended, which from the nature of the case belongs 
more to the fathers than to the mothers. To take " Fathers " as 
"Parents" seems less proper. The treatment of children on the 
part of their fathers is to be in the spirit of love ; children are not 
v o be provoked to anger by undue strictness. Instead of prj -napopyi- 
ere the parallel passage, Col. iii. 21, has the synonymous pr} tpetf^ere, 
with the addition, Iva jj,rj d6vfj<jiv } i. e., that the children may not be 
discouraged, viz., in the fulfilment of their duty towards their pa 
rents. Our passage adds to the negative, also positive injunctions. 
Christianly-minded fathers are duly to temper gravity with mild 
ness in the education of their children : the element of gravity is 
denoted by KV Traideia, that of mildness by KV vov6eoia } and both char 
acterized by the added KVQ IQV as supported by the Spirit of Christ. 
(The genitive nvpiov is to be explained by the circumstance that 
both, discipline and exhortation, are conceived as proceeding from 
Christ himself.) 

Vers. 5-8. The institution of slavery diffused over the whole of 
the ancient world entered so deeply into all the relations of life, that 
the apostle could not leave it unnoticed, the rather that a considerable 
portion of the first Christian churches consisted of slaves. Besides 
1 Cor. vii. 21 (on which see the Comm.), it is also spoken of at Col. 
iii. 22, seq. (which passage coincides with ours almost word for 
word) ; 1 Tim. vi. 1, seq. ; Tit. ii. 9, seq. ; 1 Peter ii. 18. The in 
stitution as such could not, of course, be approved of by Christian 
ity ; it was a production of sin. Paul, therefore, advises (1 Cor. vii. 
21) every slave, if he can become free by legal means, to make use 
of them. (See also on Philem. vers. 15, 16.) The apostles would, 
therefore, have severely censured the introduction of slavery, if it 
had not existed when the gospel came into the world. But, as it 
did exist, the church did not strive to overthrow it from without in 
a revolutionary manner, nor even to address to Christian masters the 
direct command to set their slaves free (see on 1 Tim. vi. 2) ; it 
sought to abolish it from within, viz., by the gradual transformation 

144 EPHESIANS VI. 5-8. 

of opinion. The defenders of negro slavery in the present day can 
not therefore appeal to the above-quoted passages from the writings 
of the apostles ; for this is not an institution of primitive time, but 
of very recent origin ; one originated too by Christians to their dis 
grace, and which keeps up its continued existence solely through 
free men being ever and anon enslaved by craft and force. 

The way then in which Paul first exhorts slaves to be obedient 
to their masters (which, detractis detrahendis, is applicable also to 
the servants of our days), attests equally the profound wisdom which 
inspired him, and the pure moral principle which he followed. He 
teaches them in the earthly masters (tcvpioi$ Kara odpua ) to obey the 
true Kvpiog Kara rrvevpa, Christ ; thus the fear and trembling which 
he requires become the expression not of a slavish mind, but of the 
tender timidity of love, which fears to mistake in any way the will 
of the beloved one (see on vers. 21, 23). Whilst the slave, there 
fore, in his position recognizes God s will, his obedience is also to be 
pure, without double-dealing (iv dn/(,6rr]ri rfo Kapdiag) ; the will of 
the Lord is to be performed not for outward show, merely before 
men s eyes, but in truth. This working of Christianity, directed to 
the inmost state of the soul, renders it the power which transforms 
the world. It makes each in his place what he is intended to be, 
the master a true master, the servant a true servant. But further, 
not merely is the ivliole will of the master to be done, even in secret, 
where no eye observes the performance, but it is to be done from the 
heart also, i. e., with willingness and joyful ness. The will of the 
earthly master is here conceived exactly as the will of God, because 
the relation of dependence comes from God, and thus also its indi 
vidual manifestations. Finally, here too, again, it is self-evident, 
that this absolute obedience to the earthly master (at Col. iii. 22 
there stands expressly vrraKovere Kara navra) does not extend to that 
which is forbidden by God ; he that serves his master as if he served 
God will never fall into the temptation to sacrifice God s will to his 
master s. ( O^OakjwdovXeia is found again only in Col. iii. 22. It is 
a word coined by Paul himself. In the same way dvOpurrdpeoKog is 
found again in the New Testament only at Col. iii. 22, and in the 
LXX. in Ps. liii. 5. [For the rest, compare as to this word Lobeck 
ad Phrynichum, p. 621.] The KK tfvxfjg here and at Col. iii. 22, in 
stead of the more usual t-K Kapdiag, to which our " from the heart" 
corresponds, is peculiar. Yet we have also the completely corre 
sponding phrase, " to love with the whole soul." See on the rela 
tion of ipvxrj and napdia my opusc. theol. p. 159, seq.) The connec 
tion of the words in ver. 7 is uncertain. Some punctuate thus : 
TTOiovvreg rb 6e^r]p,a rov Osov KK i/>v%?/f JUST evvoiag dovkevovreg ; others 
put the colon after evvoiag, uniting the participle dovhevovreg with 
what follows ; finally, others, again, join KK tpvx^? w ^h Oeov, but 


separate jtter evvoia<; from it. This last is at all events to be pre 
ferred, as thus the nearly kindred expressions t /c ipv^rft and JUST evvoias 
are duly separated, the sense being then as follows : " as such as do 
God s will from their hearts, who with good-will (not with repug 
nance) do service, as to the Lord, and not to men." (Evvoia occurs 
only once again, viz., 1 Cor. vii. 3, but in a totally different sense.) 
Finally, in ver. 8 Paul brings forward, as a motive for true devotion 
in servitude, the future recompense at the day of retribution, by 
which the unequal distribution of lots here below is equalized. The 
parallel passage Col. iii. 24, where the general KOfiielrai -napa Kvpiov, 
lie shall receive from the Lord., is explained by d-iro^ijil saOe -ip dv-a- 
nodooLv TT/f K^povojuagj ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, 
is illustrative of this passage. That is, the inheritance here, as else 
where, is participation in the kingdom of God (see at Eph. i. 18). 
Besides this, in Col. iii. 25 the threat of punishment is also added 
in the words, 6 ds ddin&v Kofuel~ai b i/diK^as. (In ver. 8 the colloca 
tion on b idv TI ZnaoTot;, for which many important MSS. read on 
ticaorog b dv Troiija^, which facilitates the understanding of the pas 
sage, and which Lachmann has received into the text, causes a diffi 
culty. But how, assuming the original existence of this last read 
ing, the ordinary one could have arisen, is entirely incomprehensible. 
The collocation of the words b lav n is to be explained by supposing 
a Tmesis. See Harless, p. 528.) 

Ver. 9. Paul makes a transition from slaves to the masters, and 
exhorts the latter, not, as one might suppose, to make their slaves 
free ; that is left to the free motion of the Divine Spirit ; but only on 
their part to exercise mildness towards them, in the consciousness 
that they too, like the former, have a master in heaven, with whom 
personal considerations are of no avail. In the Epistle to the Co- 
lossians we find the clause, not OVK tan TrpoawTroA^ta at the end of 
iii. 25, so that it therefore still belongs with the foregoing to the 
exhortation addressed to the slaves. In Col. iv. 1 the exhortation 
to the masters runs thus : TO Sinaiov nal rijv laoTijra rctg dovkoig Traps- 
XeoOs. Here the dinaiov refers to what the slaves are justified in re 
quiring, clothing, food, etc., but of course iaor^g cannot mean 
" equality with their masters ;" that would be abolishing slavery, 
which is against Paul s intention. The expression rather denotes 
the equal treatment of all, which excludes the preference of one at 
the expense of another. In our passage the phrase dvi^vreg rty 
dTTEi^ijv can alone excite doubt : the idea " to forbear threatening, 
to cease to threaten," seems unsuitable, because Paul cannot mean 
to say that merely the outward signs of unkindness towards slaves 
are to cease, but the unkindness itself. In the same manner as the 
slaves, the masters too must do everything towards their slaves &K 
i/jv^g and psr evvoiag. AneiMj here must be understi >nd of the hard- 
VOL. V. 10 

146 EPHESIANS VI. 10, 11. 

ness of heart, whence the threatening proceeds as a consequence ; 
the effect stands figuratively for the cause. (The reading real 
KOI vi-itiv is perhaps with Lachrnann preferable to KOL vp&v 
A.B.D. defend it. The reading vpuv avr&v might very easily arise 
from comparison of the Epistle to the Colossiaus [iv. 1], whereas 
av~tiv nal vptiv presents a perfectly independent idea, viz., that of the 
identity of the Lord for all. On the form TrpoawTroA^m see Acts x. 
34 ; Eom. ii. 11 ; Gal. ii. 6.) 

(vi. 10-24.) 

Finally, returning from the special to the general, Paul summons 
his readers to the conflict against all enemies of light and of truth, 
and counsels them to put on the armour of God in order to stand 
that fight well. The metaphor of the Christian conflict and spirit 
ual armour is found even in the Old Testament (see Ex. xv. 3 ; Isa. 
xi. 5, lix. 16, IT ; Wisdom of Solomon v. 19), and in the New Tes 
tament, besides our passage, at 2 Cor. x. 4 ; 1 Thess. v. 8 ; but here 
most completely, and in the greatest detail. This is explained, if we 
consider that Paul wrote this epistle in the prsetorian camp, where 
he therefore daily beheld the equipment and the punctual camp- 
discipline of this elite of the Koman army. He might often have 
used such metaphors also in his discourses to the preetorian troops, 
of whom many had actually become believers (Phil. iv. 22), as they 
made the idea of the Christian fight clear to those warriors, and thus 
this mode of contemplation might have become familiar to him. It 
has also such intrinsic truth, that the first Christians conceived their 
whole life as a militia Christiana ; accordingly, to them the confes 
sion of faith was the tessera, the parole of their heavenly general, 
the prayers and fasts the stationes, sin and evil spirits the enemy, the 
heavenly country the kingdom to be conquered, eternal happiness 
the wreath of victory. A similar use of language has, in consequence 
of the intrinsic truthfulness of this comparison, brought itself into 
vogue in ascetic literature in all ages of the church. 

Vers. 10, 11. For the spiritual fight Paul summons bis readers 
to seek spiritual strength also, which man finds not in himself, but 
only in the Lord and his might. The spiritual armour is therefore 
also called a navo-rMa rov Qeov, armour of God, because God confers 
it in the power of that Holy Spirit who imparts all those weapons 
of defence and offence as they are afterwards enumerated at ver. 14, 
seq. It is only in this armour that one can stand against an enemy 
like the devil with his crafty, dangerous devices. (In ver. 10 Lach- 
rnann, on the authority of A.B., reads rov koinov [cf. Gal. vi. 17], 

EPHESIANS VI. 12. 147 

and on the authority of B.D.E. omits ddetyoi pav. Very greatly in 
favour of the omission of the address is the circumstance that Paul 
does not address the readers as dtietyoi in the whole of the epistle. 
On the other hand, TO koinov seems, after Phil. iii. 1, 1 Thess. iv. 1, 
with the majority of the critical authorities, to deserve the prefer 
ence. On Kvdvva^ovoOai see Acts ix. 22 ; Rom. iv. 20. On /cparof 
rfjg loxvo? see at Eph. i. 19. Ver. 11. For ivSvaaadai here, ver. 13 
has dva^a{j,j3dveiv, the usual Greek term for the putting on of armour. 
HavoTjvUa, nsiVn, complete armour, weapons of defence and offence. 
Instead of oTijvai, there stands in ver. 13, dvTiarTjvai a well-known 
antithesis not only of "falling," hut also of " fleeing," in military 
language. On [ie6odeia, compare iv. 14. Both cunning and danger- 
ousness are indicated by it.) 

Ver. 12. The mention of the devil occasions Paul to compare 
the spiritual fight of the Christian with ordinary conflicts. (" is 
to be read instead of i ]fuv, with Lachmann, on the authority of B.D. 
F.G., as, indeed, both in what precedes and what follows, the second 
person constantly stands.) In the latter we have weak men for an 
tagonists, and need therefore only common weapons for them ; but 
in the fight against spiritual powers spiritual weapons also are re 
quired. The understanding of the passage is principally determined 
by the interpretation of the phrase alpa KOI odpt; ; this denotes, like 
on iwBj not the sinfulness of human nature (how could Paul say 
that the Christian did not fight against that .?) but men in general, 
with the accessory idea of weakness. (See on Matth. xvi. 17 ; 1 Cor. 
xv. 50 ; Gal. i. 16.) Now certainly the Christian may fight with 
men, in as far as evil incitements proceed from them, but, fully real 
izing the antagonist elements of the universe, he will always view 
hostile men as only the instruments of the prince of this world, so 
that his real fight will not be directed against men (in whom the 
believer always sees objects of salvation rather), but against the 
devil, who abuses them. Oik dAAa denote positive exclusion ; Paul 
considers the spiritual conflict in its inmost root. The spiritual 
powers themselves are fully described in what follows ; the kingdom 
of Satan is, as it were, dissected into its constituent parts. For, that 
the terms dp%ai and K^ovaiai denote the spiritual powers of more or 
less might, good or evil nature (which the context alone can decide), 
we have already seen at i. 21, ii: 2. As there are archangels, so are 
there archdevils also, i. e., evil spirits of more comprehensive influ 
ence. But we must entirely renounce any attempt at more exact 
distinctions, as Scripture nowhere gives us any instruction on the 
point.* The following term, Koofioifparopeg rov a/corovg rovrov, is 
without further analogy in the New Testament, although the 

* Meyer (de prastigiis diemonum, Basileae, 1653) pretends to fix even the number of 
the archdevila; he supposes 572 oi them, and 7,405,926 of the common ones. 

148 EPHESIANS VI. 12. 

devil by himself is often elsewhere in the Scriptures called 
TOV Kooftov TOVTOV, especially in John xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. 11, and 
in Paul, 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6 6eb$ TOV altivog TOVTOV. What is else 
where attributed to Satan alone, is here ascribed to all evil spir 
its, viz., dominion in a world that has fallen a prey to sin. The 
name i-.anp.-ist ij? was also adopted by the Kabbis (see Buxtorf s 
Lex. Tal. et Kabb. p. 2006, seq.), and used by Gnostic sects as ter 
minus teclinicus. But the phrase rov aKo-ovg TOVTOV is striking, that 
is to say, ovTog can well be added to aluv or 6<7juof, because there is 
an antithesis there to jueAAwv, but atcoTog is in itself the element of 
darkness in the universe ; with this OVTO$ does not harmonize. We 
easily understand, therefore, how TOV atwvof was inserted, which, 
however, according to A.B.D.F.G., is decidedly spurious. Therefore 
TOV OKOTOVS TOVTOV is to be interpreted " of the darkness which is here 
diffused, in which too ye live," so that the name Koo/wKpaTopeg TOV 
oKOTovg TOVTOV appears as the foundation for the necessity of the fight 
with them. As to the rest, we are probably not to suppose any cli- 
inax in this phrase in its relation to dp%al ical et-ovoiai, for the very 
term dp^ij involves the idea of more exalted angels who rule others ; 
Koai-WKpaTooeg rather only defines more accurately the entirely general 
idea of the dp%ij, just as T& TrvevaaTitca rfjg 7rov?]piag in its turn defines 
that of the KOfffuatpdropes. That is to say, by this last phrase the 
antithesis to aljia KOL adpt; is set forth in its whole force : "it is spir 
its of wickedness with whom ye fight ; therefore the armour of the 
Spirit is needful/ For the rest, ^rev^a-iitd is a substantival adjec 
tive, as also is dawovia. Finally, Paul further adds : iv Tolg i-xovpa- 
vioig. The position of these words renders their junction with I ^iiv 
or Trd^rj, in the beginning of the verse, at once inadmissible. But 
still other difficulties deter us from that junction. If joined with 
rjfuv the words would have to be taken, "we who are in the kingdom 
of God } " but TO, KTTovpdvia never stands for /SootAeta TOV Qeov. Joined 
with -ndXri the sense of the words would seem to be, " the fight for 
heavenly blessings ;" but iv cannot stand for did or v-p. From the 
position of iv Tolg l-ovpavioig it can only be an addition to the pre 
ceding nouns, do^ai, it-ovoiqi, Koa^oKpaToosc, TrvevimTind, to denote their 
place of residence. The conflict with flesh and blood on earth is 
contrasted with the conflict with spirits in heaven. Because offence 
was taken at the placing of evil spirits in heaven, iv rolf v-rrovpavioig 
was substituted ; but this reading is found only in totally insignificant 
authorities. As to the rest, we have already explained ourselves at 
ii. 2 on this biblical notion of transferring evil spirits into the sen 
sible world, as also upon the term sTrovpavia in i. 3. Heaven denotes 
here only the spiritual world in opposition to the material one, and 
not the region of holy and blessed life, in which sense the evil spirits 
are out of heaven. 

EPHESIAXS VI. 13-17. 149 

Ver. 13. After this description of the greatness of the Chris 
tian conflict, Paul again takes up the exhortation of verse 11 : 
" therefore (because the struggle is so severe and of a spiritual na 
ture) take unto you the armour which God through his Spirit 
bestows on his warriors against the power of darkness ; it is only 
in it we can offer resistance to attacks." The addition " in the evil 
day" is not to be understood of the day of the conflict ; for that can 
surely be also a good, a successful day ; it rather denotes a point 
of time in which temptation, and consequently the danger of suc 
cumbing, is especially great, the day therefore " in which darkness 
has power" (Luke xxii. 53). Self-observation enables us plainly to 
distinguish different times, at which the soul feels itself alternately 
more free and triumphant, more fettered and assailed ; seasons of 
the latter sort are called evil days. This contrasting of good and evil 
days is found even in the Old Testament. (See Eccles. vii. 15 ; Ps. 
xlix. 6 ; Prov. xvi. 4.) In the last words, not a-navra Karepyaodpe- 
voi arrjvai, Karepyaaajjievoi. cannot be taken of the preparatio.n for 
the fight, for this preparation is already presupposed in av-narr\- 
vai ; nor of " well performing" all that the Christian is charged 
with, as, among others, Luther interprets, for the following orr]vai 
shews that Paul still maintains the metaphor of the fight. The 
only right way is, with Beza, Calovius, Koppe, Flatt, Klickert, 
Holzhausen and Harless, to take Karepyd&aOat = KaraTTokefiuv, in the 
sense of " to overpower, beat down," so that dv-iaTTjvai denotes the 
negative aspects of the struggle, the repulse of the attack, aTravra 
Karepyaadpevot. arrival, on the contrary, its positive aspect, the over 
coming of the enemy, and the victorious maintenance of one s own 
position connected with it. 

Vers. 14-17. Now follows the carrying out of the figure of the 
armour in its separate parts. That it is not to be too much forced, 
as if every individual Christian virtue must be compared exactly 
with that piece of armour and no other, is shewn by the comparison 
of 1 Thess. v. 8, where faith and love are designated as a breast 
plate, whereas here righteousness is called the breast-plate, and the 
shield is brought into a parallel with faith ; the helmet is there 
compared with the hope of salvation, here with salvation itself. 
Paul handles with freedom such figures, and hence applies them va 
riously according to the existing exigency. As the entire image is 
taken from the warrior, and indeed, as we have seen, probably from 
the Eoman praetorian guards, all its individual features must also 
necessarily be referred to pieces of armour. First, then, Paul de 
scribes in detail the defensive armour of the believer against the 
attacks of his spiritual enemies ; the only weapon of attack which 
is named is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 
The most vulnerable part of the body, and the one least defended 

150 EPHESIANS VI. 14-17. 

by nature herself, dc^vg , the space above the hip below the ribs, is 
first named as protected by the girdle, subligaculum. Then the 
breast covered by the breast-plate, the feet by the military boots 
(caligce). Here now, by strict rule, the helmet should have been 
named next as the close-fitting weapon of defence ; but Paul fur 
ther names the shield before it, and then with it the whole depart 
ment of defensive armour is completed. With these separate pieces 
of armour the separate features of Christian character are compared. 
Paul first names truth, which, here taken quite generally, is the bias 
of mind which is opposed to falsehood as the element of the devil, 
therefore uprightness of disposition, whence everything else pro 
ceeds. Then follows righteousness; this cannot be here righteousness 
of faith, because faith is also named specially, but merely the dinaiov 
elvai, as the most general result of truth, in opposition to the wick 
edness (jrovTjpia) of the enemies (ver. 12). The third point, iv 
KTOLjiuaici, rov evayyeXiov rift dpijvrjg, is more difficult. It was natural 
to interpret KTOL^aoia, as it is brought into parallel with the sandals 
(vTrodijpaai}, of readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace, as, besides 
Chrysostom, (Ecumenius, Theophylact, and Grotius, Luther, too, 
translates : " ready to promote the gospel of peace." But this 
readiness cannot possibly be compared with a weapon, and that, too, 
a weapon of defence; the propagation of the gospel is here an en 
tirely remote idea. After Beza s example Wolf, Bengel, Morus, 
Koppe, and Flatt take iroinaaia, after the analogy of the Hebrew 
y-iSfc, which the LXX. translate by iroip-aaia (Ps. x. 17, Ixxxix. 14, 
cxii. 17), in the sense of " foundation, firm ground-work/ or " base." 
But even so the comparison is not appropriate ; the weapon of de 
fence must answer to a subjective state, not to a predicate of the 
gospel. The only correct way is to take K-ot.fiaoia } with Calvin, 
Baumgarten, Matthies, Holzhausen, and Harless, in the meaning of 
alacritas, and, in connexion with the genitive, as alacritas quam gignit 
evangelium %>acis. A vigorous freedom of movement may properly 
be compared with sandals (ynodij^aoi), as the latter promote ease 
and security in walking. The gospel of peace, i. e., that brings 
peace to the mind, is properly conceived as the cause of spiritual 
freedom of movement, because pebce removes all obstructions of the 
spiritual life. That, fourthly, faith is compared to a shield is in it 
self clearly extremely suitable. Upon the shield the arrows of the 
enemy, i. e., here of the devil, are received. ( rrovrjpog = dcdfioXog 
in verse 11.) But here a definite class of especially dangerous 
arrows are named, which were enveloped in combustible materials 
and discharged burning, so-called nvptyopoi oia-oi, fiery arrows (see 
Thucyd. ii. 75 ; Amm. Marcell. xxiii. 4). Against these it was usual 
to cover the shields with moist hides, in order to extinguish the fire 
in them. In this metaphor there seems to have been present to the 

EPHESIANS VI. 14-17. 151 

apostle s mind that form of satanic temptation in which abomiuahlc 
thoughts, like arrows of Satan, suddenly attack the soul, which by 
their fire can inflame desires, if they do not become extinct and 
lose their power on the shield of faith. Lastly, salvation is compared 
to the helmet. True, we cannot take ourr ipiov = ekmg TTJ^ a^rripia^ 
(1 Thess, v. 8); still, TO auTijpiov ; like all the rest of the points 
namedj must be taken subjectively ; not, however, so much as a 
hope, as a possessing present salvation. Finally, the Spirit is named 
as the sole, but fully sufficient, weapon of attack (sword). Mani 
festly TTvevfia here is not the human, but the Divine Spirit, which the 
Christian alone receives ; for it is the armour of the Christian that 
is described. That man is called upon to seize this sword of the 
Spirit, to carry it, therefore in a certain sense to control it, can be 
no argument against our here supposing the Divine Spirit, for he 
appears everywhere in Scripture, so far as he is active in man, as 
subject to consciousness, although this Holy Spirit is the principle of 
moral and religious life. With even more than necessary fulness 
Paul enounces this important principle, which must be considered as 
the rampart against all fanaticism, in that section (1 Cor. xiv.) 
which is so instructive as to the operation of the Holy Spirit in the 
believer s soul, where it is said (verse 32): Trvevpara Trpo^rtiv Trpo- 
^ryraif vrrordaaeraij the spirits of the prophets are subject to the pro 
phets. (See tfre Comm. on that passage.) Under this view we 
easily comprehend how the Spirit which fills the faithful can be con 
sidered as the sword with which they fight against the nvevfia-iKa 
TTjg TTovypiag ; the nature of this uncreated Holy Spirit guarantees 
the victory over the created spirits of evil. But it is obscure how 
Paul can add : o ion pij[j,a Qeov, as an explanation of the Spirit. 
For that this phrase designates any individual portion of the Divine 
Word, the Divine threats against the wicked, or the commands of 
Christianity, its unlimited character renders exceedingly improbable. 
Paul himself explains the phrase p^a Qeov by Kom. x. 8, TO pi^a 
T?fc TriaTeug b Kr]pvoaoiJ,ev. The revelation of God in the Word of 
truth is therefore, in the most comprehensive sense, the gospel of 
peace (verse 15). Bat how can this Word of God be designated as 
the Spirit itself ? The Holy Spirit would seem to be something ac 
companying the Word of God, an influence which the Word of God 
produces, but not the Word of God itself. But, apart from the 
form of manifestation of the Divine Word in the letter of the 
Holy Scriptures, or in oral preaching, this is in its inward essence 
the manifestation of Divinity itself, consequently Spirit, as the efflux 
of God the Spirit. AVhether it is taken as the Word of God the 
Father, or as the Word of Christ (Col. iii. 16), or as the Holy 
Ghost, depends merely on the writer s mode of viewing it ; as man- 

152 EPHESIANS VI. 18-20. 

ifestation of the triune God it reconciles also the different relations 
of the Trinity. 

Vers. 18-20. What follows describes the way and manner in 
which the sword of the Spirit is to be handled. Col. iv. 2, seq., is 
parallel with it. It is in prayer, and indeed perpetual prayer? 
prayer in the Spirit, and relating to all the details of life, that the 
Christian wields the sword of the Spirit, and thus strives for him 
self and the whole church of God against the might of darkness and 
its powers. Again, by iv -nvev^ian is designated not the human 
spirit, as if the words meant, " with devout mind/ but the Divine 
Spirit, in whose strength and by whose influences alone we can pray 
in a manner really well-pleasing to God. (On iv Travrl rcaip& = 
re TTpooevxeadai, see at Luke xviii. 1. As to the two synonyms 
r) and dfyois, the LXX. use the former constantly for r-Vsn, 
the latter, on the contrary, for nshp\. Hpoaev%ij is the more general 
expression, " prayer in general, communion with God ;" on the other 
hand, Stycx; is in specie a " petitioning prayer," in which a favour is 
solicited.) While, at first, the discourse was merely of prayer as re 
lative to the person praying, it is conceived, in the words KOI dq avro 
dyovnvovvreq, K. r. A., in the form of intercession ; in this consists 
the progress of the thought. EZ$- avro refers accordingly not to the 
following words, but to the preceding Trpoaev^eaOat iv Trvevfian, 
" watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication." That 
is to say, the object of the supplication for all saints is that all may 
abide in continual spiritual prayer. This interpretation removes the 
apparent tautology involved in iv navy defoec, after dia deijaeug TCOOOE.V- 
XOfjevoi had already preceded it. (In verse 18 the rov-o after el$ avro 
is, no doubt, spurious, and probably came into the text here from 
verse 22. The origin also of the reading avrov in D.F.G. is only to 
be explained by the original reading avro. On TrpoaKaprepelv see Rom. 
xii. 12 ; Acts i. 14.) Paul also solicits intercession for himself in a 
special relation viz., for a blessing on his labours, not for his personal 
religious life. We constantly find it so in Paul s epistles. He 
never solicits of his readers their intercession for the strength 
ening of his life in the faith, but only for the promotion of his 
ministry and for aid in external distresses. (Cf. Bom. xv. 30 ; 
Col. iv. 3 ; Phil. i. 19 ; 2 Thess. iii. 1.) The personal spiritual de- 
velopm ent of the apostles was sufficiently secured by the peculiar 
operation of the Holy Ghost in them. The object of the supplica 
tion for himself Paul expresses by Iva \LOL 6oQy Xoyoq iv dvoit-ei TOV 
oronaroq, for the connexion of iv dvoi&i, K. r. A., with what follows 
is to be considered as decidedly inadmissible. From the par 
allel passage, Col. iv. 3, Iva 6 Qebq dro ify TJ/MV dvpav rov koyov } it was 
proposed to translate iv dvoifri or6[iarog here quite arbitrarily in 
ocasione data. Bather, regard seems to have been had here to pas- 

EPHESIANS VI. 18-20. 153 

sages like Ps. li. 15, " Open thou my lips," and Matth. x. 19 ; Mark 
xiii. 11, where the Holy Ghost is promised the apostles in their dis 
courses. Paul therefore wishes the church may by their prayers 
obtain for him that the gift of utterance may be given unto him, 
i. e., that the Spirit, which alone speaketh rightly on Divine things, 
may bestow on him all that is necessary on every occasion for his 
ministerial efficiency. The objection might here be raised that Paul 
had surely received the Holy Ghost once for all, and with it the due 
faculty of speaking, and thus required in respect to this no interces 
sion of the church. But the Holy Ghost is not to be viewed in the 
apostles as a constantly operating power, but as a power which man 
ifested itself at different times in different degrees and forms of 
efficacy. No doubt the Spirit was abiding in the apostles, not mo 
mentary as in the prophets of the Old Testament ; but it operated 
now more now less urgently, at times even quite arresting outward 
action. (Of. Acts xvi. 6, and the remarks on it in the Comm.) The 
sense of this request, therefore, of Paul s for intercession for himself 
is this : " Pray that the. due faculty of speaking may be given to 
me in my present position, and, as far as is possible, always and 
everywhere." In fact this idea coincides with the prayer : " Pray 
that it may be given unto me to convert as many as possible to the 
kingdom of heaven." The consequence of this imparting of speech 
(do07]vai Aoyov fa dvoi&i aroftaro^ is afterwards the possibility of 
making known in all freedom the mystery of the gospel (yvupioat fa 
TTapprjaia TO [ivorripiov rov evayye/Uou.) (See on irappriaia and \Lvarr\- 
piov iii. 12 and iii. 3.) We are not to think here of outward free 
dom (viz., from bonds), but of inward joyfulness of soul, which 
enhanced the power of his labours, and is for that reason so desir 
able to Paul, not on account of his subjective enjoyment. With this 
freedom the state of external bondage, of which Paul here makes 
mention, contrasts ; mundus habet legatos splendidos, says Bengel, 
Christus vinctos. (To find in the singular, fa dhvaei, an allusion to 
the manner of fettering Paul in his Koman imprisonment, as Flatt 
still insists that is, to the circumstance that he was fastened by a 
chain to a Koman soldier [see the Comm. on Acts xxviii. 20] is 
plainly unsuitable. In the parallel passage, Col. iv. 3, it is said : 
Si 8 KOL de(5ejtiot.) Finally, the last words, Iva iv avr& Trapp^aidacofiat, 
K. r. A., are usually taken as a resumption of the fa Trappqaia yvu- 
pioai, ver. 19. But that supposition would appear justified only if 
the words ran, for instance, Iva nal fa avry, " that even in my chains 
also I might have joyfulness." It is more suitable to place this conclu 
sion parallel with the Iva pot 6oOy, K. -. A., and to look for the pecu 
liarity of the idea here expressed in the fa CIVT& wf del pe Xahijoai. 
That is to say, the fa aurw is to be referred to [tvorripiov -ov evayye- 
Mov ; " to be joyful in the gospel" means " to make known the 

154 EPHESIANS VI. 21-24. 

gospel joyfully," as it is said, Col. iv. 3, Iva favepuou avrb &<; del pe 
\aki\aai. In these last words, namely, the kind of the Trapp^ma is 
pointed to, such as is becoming for an apostle of Christ. It is no 
worldly, earthly joyfulness, but a holy heavenly one, which he is to 
manifest in the proclamation of the mystery of salvation, and by 
which he wins hearts to that mystery. 

Vers. 21, 22. This reference to Tychicus, the bearer of this 
epistle, for more detailed accounts of the person and fate of the 
apostle, is found almost word for word the same in the parallel pas 
sage, Col. iv. 7, 8. It has been already observed in the Introduction 
to the Epistle to the Ephesians how this passage certainly in some 
measure explains the absence of personal news in it, but still there 
remains the certainly strange fact that all special salutations, which 
Paul usually introduces at the close of his other epistles, are wanting 
in this. It is comprehensible only on the assumption that this epis 
tle is an encyclical one (to which, as we saw in the Introduction, 
everything leads), how Paul, in an epistle addressed among others 
to the church at Ephesus, in which he must have known so many 
members personally, could have refrained from all special salutations. 
(On the person of Tychicus see Acts xx. 4, seq. ; 2 Tim. iv. 12 ; 
Tit. iii. 12. In ver. 21 ri -npdaau is not to be referred to the labours 
of Paul, but to his prosperity, like the Latin quid agam, and the 
German was icli mache, " how I am doing, how I get on.") 

Vers. 23, 24. The last verses shew clearly that Paul had only 
a general knowledge of the circle of his readers. The turn elprjvr] 
rolg ddeh(f)olg and xdpu; juera navrwv -&v dyatTuvruv, K. T. A., argues 
against any special acquaintance with his readers ; for, as every po 
lemical reference is wanting in the epistle, the object cannot be to 
form a contrast with those who do not love the Lord. But in ver. 
23 the combination dpi]vr) teal dyd-nri //era marecof is strange ; as faith 
is the basis of the Christian state of mind, we expect the inverted 
order, faith, love, and peace. Meier translates the juera, " in propor 
tion to their own faith." This translation is certainly not entirely 
exact, but the construction with juera demands, in all probability, 
that faith be supposed to be already in existence, as indeed the idea 
of "brother" requires. In addition therefore to faith, love and 
peace only are wished. In ver. 24 iv dfyOapaia causes another diffi 
culty. The construction with dyairuvruv, in the sense perpetuo, sine 
fine, is but slightly probable. So Flatt, Meier, and others. To 
connect it with Xpiarov, "the glorified Christ," which Wetstein recom 
mends, is entirely unsuitable. Kfydapoia here can only be referred to 
the believers themselves, thus denoting the perfected state to which 
grace leads. Atydapcia = fafj aluvioc;, and the coupling it with iv is 
to be considered as an abbreviation for the complete formula. Iva 
iv d<j)0apaia. (Comp. Rom. ii. 7 ; 2 Tim. i. 10.) 






THE city of Colossae was situated in Phrygia, and indeed in that 
part of this province of Asia Minor which, according to the Koman 
division, was called Phrygia Pacatiana ; it lay on the Lycus, in the 
vicinity of Laodicea and Hic rapolis, which cities embraced Christian 
ity early (see Col. iv. 13), and are often named in the most ancient 
history of the church in Asia Minor. (See Steiger s Comm. p. 365, 
seq.) Steiger gives copious information as to the geography of the 
city of Colossae, which in later times received the name of Chonos, 
which its ruins bear even now. (Ubi supra, p. 13, seq., and in the 
Supplement, p. 368, seq.) The orthography of the name is doubt 
ful. The MSS. A.B.C. write (Col. i. 2) KoXaooai, and, as this form 
of the name is also found on coins, it seems to deserve the preference. 
On the other hand, F.Gr. have KoXoaaat, and that form is to be sup 
posed in D.E., for they have in Col. i. 2 formed the gentile KoAoa- 
ffoeZf. In Herod, vii. 30, and Xenoph. Anab. i. 2, 6, too, KoXoaaai is 
written by the best critics. Perhaps the pronunciation varied among 
the inhabitants themselves ; hence, because of the uncertainty of 
the reading, we adhere to the usual form of the name. 

Paul travelled twice through Phrygia (Acts xvi. 6, xviii. 23); 
but he probably never touched at the city of Colossas. At all events, 
he had no share in the foundation of the Christian church there 
(Col. ii. 1); that seems rather to have proceeded from Epaphras 
(Col. i. 7), who was with Paul at Rome when the latter wrote the 
epistle (Col. iv. 12 ; Philem. ver. 23), and from whom Paul no doubt 
received the information which caused him to compose this epistle 
to a body personally unknown to him. Epaphras, however, is most 
probably not identical with Epaphroditus, the apostle of the Philip- 
pians (Phil. ii. 25, iv. 18), from whom he had brought Paul an aid 
in money from Rome. (See as to the person of Epaphras, Winer s 
Real-Lex, vol. i., p. 389. Winer seems to be in favour of the iden 
tity of Epaphras and Epaphroditus ; Steiger and Rheinwald declare 
themselves against it in their Commentaries at the passages relating 
to the point, and Bohmer in the Isagoge in Ep. ad Col. p. 41.) No 


more accurate accounts can be procured from other quarters as to 
the importance of the Colossian church. We only see by the Epistle 
to Philemon, which Paul, as we shewed in the Introduction to the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, wrote at the same time as the Epistle to 
the Colossians, and sent by the same messenger, Tychicus (Col. iv. 
7-9), that this Philemon had the meetings of the church in Colossae 
held in his house, and was probably himself, like nis son Archippus, 
invested with some ecclesiastical office in it. (Comp. Philem. vers. 
1-3 with Col. iv. 17.) The small population of the inconsiderable 
city of Colossa3 does not admit of our supposing that there were meet 
ings of the faithful at more than one place ; at all events, the meet 
ing in the house of Nymphas, mentioned in Col. iv. 15, relates to the 
neighbouring city of Laodicea, not to Colossee. 

Now, since we have already, in the Introduction to the Epistle 
to the Ephesians, observed what was needful as to the time and place 
of the composition of this epistle, and shewn that the Epistle to the 
Colossians was written from Rome during the first Roman imprison 
ment, at the same time as those to the Ephesians and to Philemon, 
and was sent by Tychicus, there remain but two points which re 
quire a closer investigation in this Introduction, viz., the question as 
to the authenticity of this epistle, and the question as to the occasion 
for its composition, i. e. } as to the false doctrine disseminated in 
Colossze. As to its genuineness, the church of Christ had been 1800 
years in undisputed possession of this work as genuinely apostolical, 
when it occurred to Dr. Mayerhoff in Berlin to cast doubts on this 
well-established inheritance. After him, Dr. Baur also, in Tubin 
gen, threw out objections against the genuineness of this epistle, 
without, however, up to this time, maldng them good. But, as he 
places the pastoral epistles at so late a date principally on account 
of the false teachers pointed out in them, it may be supposed that, 
in the controversy on the Epistle to the Colossians, the heretics 
mentioned in it again constitute the chief argument in his mind 
against the authenticity of the epistle, as they are very closely con 
nected with the heretics of the pastoral epistles. We shall there 
fore apply ourselves merely to Mayerhoff s arguments against the 
Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Colossians, which are laid down 
in a posthumous work of his : " The Epistle to the Colossians, with 
especial reference to the three Pastoral Epistles." (Berlin, 1838.) It 
has already been remarked, in the investigation of the arguments 
adduced against the authenticity of the Epistle to the Ephesians, 
that it is not adapted to dispose us favourably towards the critical 
works here coming under review, when we see that the impugners 
of the Epistle to the Ephesians base their arguments against that 
production on the supposition of the authenticity of the Epistle to 
the Colossians, and vice versa the impugners of the Epistle to the 


Colossians on their side necessarily postulate the authenticity of the 
Epistle to the Ephesians. The critics thus mutually undermine 
each other s foundations, and render their entire labours extremely 
suspicious. According to Mayerhoff the Epistle to the Colossians is 
to be considered an abstract of the Epistle to the Ephesians, com 
posed in perhaps the second century, and with which the polemical 
part is interwoven by the author in order to combat with apostolic 
authority heretics that were hateful to him. This representation 
certainly furnishes a not altogether inconceivable motive for the 
transformation of an apostolical epistle ; whereas the opposite asser 
tion, that the Epistle to the Ephesians is a detailed new-modelling 
of the Epistle to the Colossians, can allege no possible object for 
such an undertaking, because in that case the polemical element, 
which was certainly the usual motive for such forgeries under apos 
tolical names, must have purposely and directly been eradicated 
from the Epistle to the Colossians. But such an assumption as 
Maycrhoff s could, in opposition to the unanimous testimony of the 
ancient church from the earliest times, claim recognition only by 
adducing decisive and clear evidence that the Epistle to the Colos 
sians was not Paul s, and that therefore the ancient tradition of the 
church must be rejected. We scarcely need mention that Mayerhoff 
has been able to point out nothing of the sort. In the first section 
of his work he is occupied with the relation of the Epistle to the 
Colossians to the rest of Paul s epistles in respect of language. The 
style of the Epistle to the Colossians has hitherto been viewed by 
the sharpest-sighted critics as bearing, beyond a question, the im 
press of Paul s manner. Mayerhoff is of another opinion. But 
the way in which he seeks to shew the difference in style between 
this epistle and the genuine epistles of Paul, proves that he pro 
ceeded in this inquiry on totally untenable principles. In p. 12 he 
thinks it worthy of consideration that the words dTro/caAvTrrca, dnoicd- 
hvijjLc, vrraKovd), vrra/co?/, dpa, 816, diori, KTI, OVKKTI, jj.rjK.e-i, are not found 
in the Epistle to the Colossians ; that yap occurs but six times in it, 
whereas it occurs seventeen times in the Epistle to the Philippians, 
twenty-four times in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, forty times 
in that to the Galatians, one hundred and seventy times in that to 
the Corinthians, one hundred and fifty times in that to the Eomans. 
He who can take account of such pure accidents, and that so seri 
ously that he counts how often yap occurs in each epistle, pronounces 
on himself the sentence of incapacity for giving his vote on the affin 
ity or difference of style. In an epistle of but few chapters then 
only can anything be inferred from dna^ Aeyojueva and similar devia 
tions, when they are found in those modes of expression for which 
the author is acknowledged to have coined standing formulas, and 
even then they have demonstrative force only when they can be ad- 


dticed in connexion with other decisive arguments. Such Mayerhoff, 
in the second section of his essay (p. 42, seq.), thinks are found in 
the anomalous modes of thought and representation which are sup 
posed to distinguish the Epist]e to the Colossians from the genuine 
epistles of Paul. He begins here with the remark that the style in 
the Epistle to the Colossians entirely wants the life, freshness, and 
force which distinguish the genuine epistles of Paul.* " In the lat 
ter/ says Mayerhoff, " Paul pursues a strict logical order in the 
dogmatical part, but, tired with the conflict between the crowd of 
ideas and the spirit of systematizing" (!), he then allows himself to 
be carried away in the hortatory part of the epistles, so that in it 
everything is mixed together. In the Epistle to the Colossians, on 
the other hand, it would seem to be just the contrary ; the hortatory 
part is quite logically arranged, but the doctrinal exhibits a confused 
intermixture. We can oppose nothing more cogent to this remark 
than in the following Commentary on this epistle to prove the close 
connexion of the dogmatical part also, just as we, in respect to the 
hortatory parts of the other epistles, have already sufficiently shewn, 
or shall in those yet to be explained, by pointing out the excellent 
method which pervades them, the complete untenableness of Mayer 
hoff s assertion. While in early times the church of Christ particularly 
admired the Epistle to the Colossians on account of the richness of 
its profound and condensed ideas, Mayerhoff discovers poverty of 
ideas in it (p. 46), and then finds too (p. 59, seq.), " although the 
doctrine of the epistle is essentially Paul s, in individval points more 
or less deviation from the doctrine of his genuine epistles." On 
this point too we abstain from all further remarks here, as the expo 
sition itself will give us sufficient opportunity to shew the complete 
identity of the doctrine of this epistle with Paul s general system of 

To this is subjoined in the third section of Mayerhoff s essay 
the comparison of the two epistles, to the Colossians and to the 
Ephesians, which, as has been already remarked, results in favour 
of the Epistle to the Ephesians, in direct opposition to the inquiries 
of De Wette and other critics. To every unprepossessed person the 
impossibility of proving the one or the other of these epistles to have 
been copied from a genuine one of Paul s will by these contradic 
tions have been made clear enough, and the authenticity of both has 
thus only been confirmed anew. A refutation of this section would 
be possible only by a special following up of the comparison of the 
two epistles instituted by Mayerhoff, which obviously cannot be un- 

* Erasmus, the great connaisseur of antiquity, judged differently ; tonal fulgurat, meras 
flammas loquitur Paulus, says he of this epistle. Bohmer likewise finds, in his " Isagoge 
in Epist. ad Coloss.," the style in the Epistle to the Colossians viva, pressa, solida, nervis 
pkna, mascula (1. c. page 160). 


del-taken here. But by whomsoever it may be instituted, it will 
never leave behind it a satisfactory impression in all points, since it 
is certainly true that, as we have already seen in the Introduction to the 
Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, this epistle is at once closely allied 
to that, and more brief ; and the assertion that this shorter epistle 
was made by an officious person by means of an unskilful abridge 
ment of the longer one Avill ever be scarcely refutable in the eyes of 
those who see or choose to see poverty of intellect in abundance of 
intellect, and a want of connexion in the strictest order. 

There remains, then, but the fourth and last section, in which 
Maycrhoff treats of the false doctrine in the Epistle to the Colos- 
sians. Here he seeks to shew that this false doctrine is that of Ce- 
rinthus, and, as that heretic did not live till after the apostle s time, 
therefore the Epistle to the Colossians cannot be by Paul. Now, 
that would certainly be a just conclusion if the premises were capa 
ble of proof ; we should then have an historical point which we could 
oppose to the uninterrupted tradition ascribing the origin of this 
epistle to Paul. We should thus come out of the airy regions of so- 
called internal arguments (i. e. } of merely subjective opinion) to the 
firm ground of history. But, as Mayerhoff himself confesses (p. 5) 
that Baur s attack on the authenticity of the pastoral epistles, on 
the ground that the doctrine of the Marcionites is combated in 
them, fails when the inadmissibility of that single assumption is 
pointed out, which, as Mayerhoff owns, has been already done by 
Baumgarten ; so too will his arguments against Paul s authorship of 
the Epistle to the Colossians fail, on the single proof being brought 
that the false doctrine designated in it has no necessary connexion 
with Cerinthus gnosis. That demonstration we attempt in what 
follows, after we have more accurately weighed the characteristics 
which the Epistle to the Colossians gives of the false doctrine spread 
among its first readers, as also the different hypotheses which have 
been advanced on the subject. 


The circumstance which caused the Apostle Paul to write to the 
Christians in Colosste, who were not personally known to him, was 
the spread of serious errors in doctrine among them, as also in the 
neighbouring church in Laodicea (Col. iv. 16), to whom Paul had 
also written, and, it is extremely probable, with the same design of 
warning them, as he commands that both epistles, which might be 
complements of each other, should be read at both places. Paul 
had, no doubt, received information of those false doctrines through 
Epaphras, who, as has been already observed, was then with Paul, 
VOL. V. 11 


and, as founder of the Colossian church, stood in the nearest rela 
tion to it. In Col. iv. 12 Paul remarks, in delivering salutations 
to the Colossians from Epaphras, that Epaphras is earnest in prayer 
for them, that they, grounded in God s will, may stand firm against 
all temptations. It does not appear from this epistle in what man 
ner this false doctrine may have been spread in Colossae. Paul does 
not say that persons from without had brought it thither, nor does 
he name any individuals who defended it ; he does not even strictly 
separate the heterodox from the orthodox believers, but speaks to the 
whole body of the Colossian church, as if both the heretics and those 
that remained faithful were still in church-fellowship. This is espe 
cially shewn by Col. ii. 20 : d dneddvere avv Xpjarw d-no r&v oroixeiuv 
TOV tcoai-iov, ri &g a5vref KV KOOJJ,^ doyfiari^eade ; We cannot here sup 
pose that the false teachers merely are addressed, with an exclusion 
of the rest of the church ; for such a separation of two elements is 
nowhere indicated. The exhortations go on without interruption, 
and always refer to the whole church. A later writer would certainly 
not have selected this form of representation ; he would have made 
the heretics appear rigorously separated from the orthodox believers, 
and combated them as standing out of communion with the church. 
Paul writes here perfectly in accordance with the first beginnings of 
the Christian life. The first symptoms only of heretical doctrine 
shewed themselves in Colossse. Paul hastened to suppress them in 
the bud and to bring back the misguided to the right way. He had 
no grounds for deducing those errors from an evil intention ; he saw 
their origin in inexperience and weakness ; therefore he does not di 
rectly apply severe measures, exclusion from communion with the 
church, and the like, but he proceeds forbearingly. He views and 
treats the misguided as still members of the church, and seeks to bring 
them back to the truth by a gentle exposure of their errors. The 
matter had assumed a totally different aspect some years later when 
Paul wrote his pastoral letters at the end of his life. Then the evil 
intention of the false teachers had been brought clearly to light, and 
Paul dared therefore no longer permit unseasonable gentleness to 
sway him. The diseased members were now obliged to be removed 
in order to keep the whole frame sound. 

From this position of the Colossian false teachers towards the 
church it may now be already inferred that no elaborate system can 
be supposed in them. The enthusiastic element which existed in 
the character of the Phrygian people, and which had found vent for 
itself under heathenism in the fanatical worship of Cybele, produced 
similar phenomena on the reception of Christianity, as the Montan- 
ism which arose in Phrygia in the second century shews. The 
Phrygians had received Christianity as a religion endowed with 
mighty spiritual powers, but without entirely renouncing with true 


self-denial their previous predilections ; by which means there after 
wards arose mixtures of truth and falsehood, such as meet our view 
in Paul s sketch of the errors there. Moreover, in this part of Asia 
Minor the oriental and occidental elements were blended ; numerous 
Jews, with their different sects, were settled there ;* a propensity to 
speculations on the world of spirits was generally diffused, and that 
not only in the form of Greek philosophy, but also in that of the 
Oriental theosophy. Nothing was therefore more natural than that 
Christianity, entering that fermented mass, should be eagerly re 
ceived by the excited populace, but also capriciously disfigured. 
Before we, however, look closer into the character of the Colossian 
false teachers, we must answer the preliminary question, " Are all 
the traits mentioned by Paul to be supposed united in the same 
persons, or are they men of totally different tendencies of mind, 
whom he combats ?" By far the most of the later critics suppose 
the former; Heinrichs alone insists that there were in Colossa3 not 
merely false teachers of one class, but Judaists, Gnostics, and other 
heretics, side by side. We must allow that the representation in 
our epistle by no means justifies the confidence with which the mod 
erns suppose but one sect in Colossaa. If our epistle were addressed 
to a numerous church, as was that of Home, it would be even more 
natural to suppose that Paul wished to warn them against various 
erroneous opinions. For he nowhere says that the same persons 
teach all that he blames ; since he, as we have seen, always writes 
to the church as such, not to individuals in it, it appears absolutely 
grounded in the nature of the case that he ranges the errors to be 
avoided side by side, without its thence following that the same per 
sons entertain them. We might even fancy that at ii. 16, 17 two 
tendencies, the Judaizing and the Gnostic, are distinguished, as 
Paul, after the p) ovv rig, begins anew, firjdeig vfj.dc;, K. r. /I , and inti 
mates by that means that he makes a transition to something fresh. 
However, neither that passage, nor any other in the Epistle to the 
Colossians, decidedly disproves the assumption that all the traits 
mentioned by Paul were combined in the same persons ; and if we 
consider that Colossas was a small place, in which many opinions 
can scarcely have been propagated, and that the pastoral epistles 
introduce us to perfectly similar false teachers in Ephesus and Crete, 
in whom kindred heretical elements appear combined as in the Co 
lossians, it certainly becomes probable that the same persons taught 
all that Paul reprehends ; but we cannot go beyond the probability. 
If we, after this, consider the separate features of the portrait 

* According to Josephus (Arch. xii. 3) Antiochus the Great had brought 2,000 Jew 
ish families from Babylon and Mesopotamia to Phrygia, and made them settle there ; he 
expected of them protection against the unruly native population. 


drawn by Paul of the Colossian false teachers,* we find, first, that 
they had a tendency to Judaism. They laid a stress on external 
circumcision and the outward observance of the law (ii. 11, 16, 21, 
iii. 10), required the keeping of the ordinances of the Old Testa 
ment as to meats, the solemnization of feasts, new moons, Sabbaths. 
In opposition to them, Paul exalts spiritual circumcision in regen 
eration, and urges that through Christ the distinctions in the Old 
Testament between Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircum- 
cised, are abolished, that the mystery of Christ is to be made known 
to all men, even to the Gentiles. But, besides this, Paul also warns 
against a Ckooo$ia KOI Kevrj drrdrrj Kara rijv Trapddoaiv r&v dvOp^rruv^ 
Kara rd aroL^eta rov noofiov, ml ov na~d t Xptorov, a philosophy and 
vain deceit, etc. (ii. 8). In what that false speculation discovered it 
self is particularly shewn by ii. 18, seq. Instead of keeping to. Christ, 
the one and only head, those heretics occupied themselves with in 
quiries into the world of spirits, and even dedicated worship to the 
angels. Paul therefore strives above all to put the Divine dignity 
of Jesus in a clear light, and to shew that not merely all earthly, 
but also all heavenly powers are subject to the eternal Son of God. 
On the pretended insight into the spiritual world, which the Colos 
sian false teachers recommended, and which, as usually happens, 
produced conceit and haughtiness along with apparent humility (ii. 
18, 23), the epistle gives us no more detailed information ; but it 
may be deduced from the pastoral epistles that they were occupied 
with genealogies of the angels, therefore, we may suppose, assumed 
wedlock among the angels, after the manner of the later Gnostics. 
Finally, as to the practical tendencies of these heretics, a strict ascet 
icism was cultivated among them, which induces us to suppose that 
they assumed a Hyle, or substance of evil, although it is nowhere 
openly expressed. In like manner it is nowhere declared by Paul 
that the ascetic principles of the false teachers in Colossas had 
extended to the rejection of marriage, and to docetic views of 
Christ. (See the Comm. on ii. 21.) Now, if these features are con 
ceived as referring to the same persons, the difficulty arises that they 
seem in a measure contradictory. That is to say, the stiffer Juda- 
ists used to be strongly averse from Gnostic speculation and false 
ascetism ; the Gnostic ascetics, on the other hand, were in common 
opposed to the tendency to strict external legalism. Thus it is ex 
plained how the views of the learned as to the nature of these false 

. * More extended remarks on the heretics of the apostolic age are found in the Intro 
duction to the three pastoral epistles, in which particularly the false teachers of the 
Epistle to the Colossians are compared with the false teachers of the pastoral epistles as 
regards the affinity and the difference between them. "We therefore refer to the more 
detailed discussion in the Introduction to the pastoral epistles, in respect of all points 
which are here either not at all, or but briefly, touched on. 


teachers could prove so different. However, the majority of these 
hypotheses sufficiently refute themselves. (See Bohmer s Isagoge, 
p. 56, seq., and Bertholdt s Introcl. vol. 6, p. 3448, seq.) The no 
tions of Eichhorn, Schueckenburger (contributions to the Introduc 
tion, p. 146, seq., and on the antiquity of the baptism of proselytes, 
App. p. 189, seq.), and others, that no Christians at all are meant 
here, but Jews, which is deduced particularly from ii. 19, needs no 
further consideration, for the ov Kparelv rfjv ne^aXrjv^ not holding the 
head, does not mean " not to believe in Christ at all," but only " not to 
hold fast to Christ as one ought." Had these persons not been Christ 
ians, Paul s arguments would surely have been totally without aim ; it 
was matter of course that in non-Christians there was much to blame. 
In like manner the views of Wolf, Junker, and others, who recog 
nized Christian Platonists, or Alexandrian supporters of the doctrines 
of the Logos, in the heretics at Colossee, can make no pretension to 
recognition, because this view leaves unexplained the inflexible legal 
tendency of the Colossian false teachers, from which the Platonists 
and Platonizing Judaists were free. Again, the assertion of G-rotius, 
that the false doctrine is to be deduced from Pythagorean elements, 
or those of Kleuker and Hug, that it proceeds from the influence of 
the Magi or Chaldees, are not merely indemonstrable, but improb 
able. The same holds good too of J. D. Michaelis hypothesis, that 
they are disciples of Apollos, to which the friendly relation of that 
man to Paul is entirely opposed. Thus, then, there only remains 
as tenable the single supposition that they were Jewish Gnostics, 
or Theosophists, who had endeavoured to harmonize their particular 
views with those of the gospel. To suppose exactly Essenes or 
Therapeutse to be meant here, as Zachariae, Storr, and others, is cer 
tainly less advisable, because they formed exclusive societies, and it 
is hardly probable that they would before the destruction of Jerusa 
lem have spread themselves out of Judea and Egypt into the other 
provinces of the Koman empire. But neither do we need any union 
with such existing sects in order to explain the mixing up of Jewish 
Theosophy with Christianity. Theosophical and ascetic opinions of 
many kinds, shapeless, and without having as yet assumed a decided 
character, were in the apostolical times diffused among Gentiles and 
Jews. (See what Josephus [Vita, cap. 2] relates of a certain Banus.) 
Those ascetics in Rome of whom Paul writes (Rom. xiv.), and in later 
times the appearance of Cerinthus and of the Gnostic Ebionites, of 
whose opinions a remarkable monument has been preserved in the fol 
lowers of Clement, sufficiently prove how a theosophico-ascetic ten 
dency, as it appeared in the system of the Cabbala, could associate itself 
with a strictly legal tendency in Judaism, and, on these grounds, 
such a coalition of those different tendencies was then also possible 
in Christianity. The later inquirers, namely, Neander and Bohmer, 


coincide in this conception of the character of the Colossian false 
teachers, and Mayerhoff too, in fact, joins them. The latter scholar 
only concludes, as we have already observed, from the affinity of the 
heretics in Colossas with the doctrines of Cerinthus, that the au 
thor of this epistle comhated him and his disciples, and that, as 
Cerinthus lived after Paul, the Epistle to the Colossians must be 
considered spurious. Against this, however, it is to be observed, 
that the circumstances of Cerinthus life are by no means accurately 
enough known to us to enable us to say with certainty that he was 
not living so early as Paul s times. That he was along with John 
the Evangelist in Ephesus is reported to us by such safe witnesses 
that only the extreme of caprice can throw doubts on their declara 
tions. (See Neander s Church History, vol. ii. p. 672.) It is true 
we know nothing certain of any relation between Cerinthus and 
Paul, for the uncritical Epiphanius, who supposes Paul in all his 
epistles to combat Cerinthus, cannot, of course, come under consider 
ation here. But, in spite of that, Cerinthus might even at that 
time have been active ; at least we have no decisive evidence that 
would preclude the assumption ; therefore an argument against a 
composition which is founded on the most irrefragable testimonies 
cannot possibly be based on so uncertain a matter. But again, no 
thing obliges us to assume that it is particularly Cerinthus and his 
adherents who are combated in the Epistle to the Colossians. That 
false teacher certainly did not originate the speculative tendencies 
which declare themselves in his system. They were, on the contrary, 
before him diffused in wide circles already. Cerinthus only adopted 
them for his own, worked them up in his own fashion, and succeeded 
in gaining over a good many to them. The very general manner in 
which the false doctrines are set forth in this epistle, as we have 
seen, speaks clearly for the opinion that there had not yet risen up 
any individual who had adopted independently for his own the ten 
dency of mind which they suppose, and given it a characteristic and 
definite form. Cerinthus may, therefore, when I*aul wrote, have 
already been in ColossaB and committed himself to those views, but 
he had hardly as yet exercised influence and made himself the inde 
pendent master of the sect. 

In its main purport, therefore, the Epistle to the Colossians is 
directed against errors which have long since vanished, while the 
Word of Truth which dissipated them has remained to us inviolate 
That Word also exercises even yet its power of destruction and edi 
fication. For, if the form of error is changed, yet its essence con 
tinues the same in all ages of the church, because it is ever gener 
ated anew out of the sinful heart ; it therefore also needs incessant 
refutation through the Word of God. The pith, however, of the 
error which began to entangle the Colossians consists in seeking a 


wisdom and a holiness apart from Christ, in capricious images of the 
fancy or of contemplation, in works of the law, of chastening, of 
mortification ; a striving, along with which, in whatever form it 
may present itself, the poisonous plant of conceit and haughtiness 
always grows up in the heart. Against these the word of Paul, " In 
Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. ii. 
3), holds good for all times, and especially even for ours, so rich in 
its own wisdom. He that digs them out wins the greatest treasure 
at the same time with them, viz., humility, which is never found 
along with the conceited loisdom of man. 



The Epistle to the Colossians falls, like the rest of Paul s epis 
tles, into two parts : in the first of which (from i. 1 to ii. 23) the 
doctrinal element predominates, in the second (from iii. 1 to iv. 18), 
the ethical. 

We further divide the first part into two paragraphs, the first of 
which (i. 1 to 23) after the salutation expresses thanks to God for 
the faith of the readers, and contains the prayer of Paul for their 
growth in knowledge and in every good work. Paul represents 
the fulfilment of that prayer as guaranteed by Christ and his re 
demption, who is personally described in his eternal Godhead as 
he through whom all is created and in whom everything consists, as 
head of the church and first-born from the dead. As Lord over all, 
Christ has reconciled all through his blood. Also them, the readers 
of the epistle, he has reconciled, that they might be holy and un 
spotted instead of their previous state of estrangement from God, if 
they stood fast in the faith and in the hope of the gospel whereof 
he (Paul) is a minister. In the second paragraph (i. 24 to ii. 23) 
Paul declares his joy at his call to be an apostle in spite of all the 
distresses attending it, as those very sufferings must serve the wel 
fare of the church of Christ. He says he has the calling, as minister 
of the gospel, to fill everything with the gospel, and to teach all 
men (Gentiles as well as Jews), and to present them perfect in 
Christ ; whereunto, therefore, he labours with all his might, and is 
accordingly particularly anxious for them, the Christians in Colossi 
as also in Laodicea, while he strives to bring them to the knowledge 
of God and of Christ, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge are hid. He says this, he tells them, in order to warn 
them against false human wisdom, which is sought for apart from 
Christ, in whom, nevertheless, the fulness of the Godhead dwells 
bodily, and whose redeeming power they themselves had experienced 
in their hearts. They should not, he says, let themselves be again 


subjected to the yoke of the law, and be seduced from Christ by a 
puffed-up wisdom ; for he that is dead with Christ to the elements 
of the spiritual life must not again let himself be brought back to a 
self-chosen worship of God which seeks salvation by works. 

In the second part, the third paragraph (iii. 1 to 17) contains the 
general ethical precepts to the readers, as those who are risen with 
Christ, to seek also what is above, and to renounce all that is earthly 
and sinful. Paul says they ought for that end to put on the new 
man, created after the image of God, with all his virtues, to let, 
above all, love and peace reign in them, and in reciprocal teaching 
and edification thank God and the Father for the salvation which 
had become theirs. The fourth and last paragraph (iii. 18 to iv. 18), 
finally, is taken up with exhortations for the special relations of 
family life, to which is subjoined at the end of the epistle a reference 
to Tychicus, the bearer of this epistle, for more detailed news as to 
the apostle personally. Salutations, and the charge to communicate 
this epistle to the Christians in Laodicea, and, on the other hand, 
to read publicly in Colossse also that addressed to the Laodiceans, 
fill up the last verses of the epistle, on which Paul further stamps 
the seal of authenticity by a salutation written with his own hand. 


Besides several works especially devoted to the Introduction to the 
Epistle to the Colossians, such as C. G. Hoffman (Leips., 1749, 4to), 
Bohmer (Isagoge in Ep. ad Col. theol. hist, critica, Berol., 1829, 
8), Kheinwald (de pseudodoctoribus Colossensibus, Bonnas, 1834, 
4to), Osiander on the Colossian false teachers in the Tubingen 
Journal for 1834, part 4, we have to cite the following special Com 
mentaries : By Davenant (expositio Ep. ad Col., Geneva?, 1655, 4to), 
George Calixtus (expositio literalis, Brunsvicas, 1654, 4), Solomon 
van Till (Amstelod. 1726, 4to), Storr (in his opusc. acad,, vol. ii., p. 
120-241), Junker (Mannheim, 1828), Flatt (edited by Kling, Tu 
bingen, 1829), Bahr (Basle, 1833), Bohmer (Breslau, 1835), Steiger 
(Erlangen, 1835). 





P A R T F I R S T , 

I. 1. II. 23. 


(i. 1-23.) 

THE salutation (i. 1, 2) presents nothing particular, since what 
was necessary as to the form of the name of the city of Colossee and 
the various readings in ver. 2 has already been remarked in the In 
troduction to this epistle ( 1). At the end of ver. 2 the usual not 
Kvpiov Iqoov Xpio-ov in the blessing is wanting in the MSS. B.D.E. 
and several minuscules. Considering the constant occurrence of 
this formula in the beginnings of Paul s epistles, the omission of 
the words is certainly not so easily explained as the addition of 
them ; however, Lachmann has not, for all that, ventured to strike 
them out altogether ; they might have been left out in some MSS. 
by accident. 

Vers. 3, 4. Exactly as in Eph. i. 15, seq., here too Paul begins 
with thanksgiving to God and mentioning his intercession for the 
Colossian Christians for the sake of their faith and their love, thus 
for the sake of their Christian state of mind, of which Paul, how 
ever, had information (dicovaavr^} only through the communications 
of others (especially of Epaphras, ver. 8), not through beholding it 
himself, for he had neither founded the church in Colossas, nor ever 
visited it (see Introd. 1). As to the connexion of the words, it is 
more correct to join rcavrore with what folloius than with what pre 
cedes, for the incessant prayer for the readers appears as the more 
important point here. In evxapiorovnev is expressed the thanks 
giving of Paul, which he expressed at the moment, and by the me 
dium of writing ; the intercession, on the contrary, is represented 


as continuous, and to be grounded on what Paul had heard of the 
Colossians life of faith. So, too, ver. 9, where this idea is again 
taken up and further carried out. Love is again (as in Eph. i. 15) 
conceived of as brotherly love, because Christian love manifests itself 
primarily as such, without thereby derogating from universal love. 
In ver. 3 MS. B. reads for rw 0ew aal Trarpt, as Paul generally writes, 
rc5 0eui Trarpi, and D.G. TGJ 9(3 TW -arpt, which latter reading 
Lachmann has received into the text. In fact, it seems to deserve 
the preference, as the more unusual form of expression could easily 
be changed into the usual one. Trrep is to be preferred after 
B.D.F.Gr to Trepi. In ver. 4 the reading ip e^ere after ri]v dyd-rrr}v is 
vouched for by so many and important MSS., viz., by A.C.D.E.F.Gr., 
that we cannot hesitate to declare it the orignal on#, the rather as 
rr\v seems to have come into the text here from Eph. i. 15. 

Ver. 5. Paul represents the faith and the love of the Christians 
in Colossa3 as conditioned by the hope shewn them by means of the 
gospel. Here again Paul disdains not to cast his eyes on the Di 
vine reward (niodog), which even the Saviour himself often places 
before his disciples. The e^Tu^-, accordingly, is here not, as in 1 
Thess. i. 3, subjective hope, but objective hope, i. e., the hoped-for 
object, eternal happiness in the kingdom of God. It is designated 
as dnoicei^Evr] iv rolg ovpavoig, to indicate partly its being securely 
laid up, partly its being not yet present. But man cannot deduce 
the existence of such a heavenly hope from himself, he perceives it 
only in the Word of Truth, which is in the gospel. (Toi) evayyekiov is 
to be taken as genit. apjiositionis.) In this, the Colossians have already 
here (before the fulfilment) received information of that hope. For 
so the Trporjuovaare is to be taken, not, as Bohmer, with reference to 
the apostle s epistle, as if the meaning were, " of which you have 
already heard before the composition of this epistle." For that this 
was the case was surely already plain enough from the aKovaavreg 
preceding. Again, the words which follow, TOV napovrog elg v/j-ag, 
KaOug aai, K. r. A., do not recount the bare fact that the gospel is 
preached in Colossa3 ; the citing of that would be entirely needless, 
as the existence of faith necessarily presupposes the preaching of the 
gospel. Paul means rather in this addition to render prominent the 
nature of the gospel, as a treasure belonging to the whole of man 
kind, and which for that very reason could not be withheld from them 
(the Colossians) either : " which is come unto you, as it is also (in 
conformity with its destination) in the whole world." The reason 
why the apostle makes the universality of Christianity prominent 
here is the same which causes him at the end of the chapter (i. 27, 
.seq.) to repeat so often that he teaches and warns all men, viz., opposi 
tion to the one-sided bias of the Judaiutic false teachers, whc looked 
on the gospel as intended primarily for the Jews merely. Neither 


therefore, can the iv rravrl TW noapu be taken with Bohmer as an 
hyperbole, for even if, when Paul wrote those words, the gospel was 
not actually as yet generally diffused, still it has in its first elements 
even the tendency and energy to fill and govern the world ; from 
his knowledge of that energy Paul prophetically expresses the future 
as if already realized. (See on i. 23.) For the rest, in the rov 
rraporrog el$ vf.idq we discover an antithesis to the t-/.7Uf aTTOKeifiKvrj tv 
role ovpavol? ; while the glory and blessedness of the kingdom of God 
are still distant, the substance of these blessings is already spirit 
ually near to the faithful in the Word of Truth. 

Ver. 6. Here the connexion of the words is questionable, in con 
sequence of the different readings ; the discourse proceeds with Ka6u$ 
teat thrice repeated : it is true, nal is wanting in the third, in very 
many and important MSS., but the omission is far more explicable, 
from its having twice preceded, than the addition of it. But again, 
A.C.D. read in the beginning of ver. 6 naQug Kal KV -rrav-l r<3 noa^y 
iarl KapTTO(f)opov[ievov, The clause nadug KoapG) is thus separated 
from what precedes, and joined with what follows ; to which open 
ing clause, however, the words KaOug Kal h vulv do not adapt them 
selves, since the Colossians are included of course in the whole world. 
It is with reason, therefore, that Steiger, Biihr, and others, have 
retained Kal KO-L KapTro^opov^svov^ and supplied an at KaOug Kal iv 
-rravrl roi Koofic,). The existence of the Word of Truth in the world 
would seem thus to be further represented as not unfruitful, but 
efficient ; from its productive power it brings forth fruits in the 
souls of those who receive it, and it had shewn itself so in the Co 
lossians also from the moment that they had heard of the grace of 
God (viz., in Christ, as the object of the preaching of the Gospel), 
and had truly received what they heard. But a difficulty is created 
by Kal avav6[ievov } which, it is in the highest degree probable, is to 
be considered genuine, and to be taken into the text, after A.B.C. 
D.E.F.G., though it might have been interpolated here from ver. 10. 
But the idea of growing seems of necessity to precede the bringing 
forth fruit, and not to follow it. The reference of KaprcofyopdaOai 
to inward, of avgdveaOai to outward growth, is plainly inapposite 
after the mention of KaOug Kal tv -rravrl TGJ Kocftw. It corresponds 
better with the context to refer avt-dveaOai to the growing and ripen 
ing of the fruits themselves, with which the parallel passage, ver. 
10, also accords best. The influence of the Word of Truth is not 
terminated with the bringing forth of fruits ; it works, on the 
contrary, on and on, to present the fruits still more ripened and 
complete, so that a growing is thus to be recognized in the bring 
ing forth, of fruit itself. The acceptation of iv dXrjOela may be 
questionable. That it contains no reference back to the Adyof rijg 
dXt]Oda<; in ver. 5, and therefore must not be joined with 

172 COLOSSIANS I. 7, 8. 

rov QKOV, in the sense, "grace of God in truth/ follows decidedly 
from the absence of the article. Ev d^deia can only be taken as an 
adverbial subordinate limitation of the whole, designating the na 
ture of the Emyvuois as a true one, in contrast with a mere apparent 
knowledge of the grace of God, as it shewed itself in the false teach 
ers. (See Bahr on this passage, and Winer s Gr., 20, 2, p. 128.) 
But KaO&s Kai tyddere points also, as Steiger has already correctly 
perceived, to a further reference of iv dkrjdda to the idea in verse 7. 
Paul in it sanctions the preaching of Epaphras in Colossas as the 
genuine apostolical one (perhaps with regard to suspicions which 
might have been disseminated on the part of the false teachers 
against Epaphras and his doctrine), and with it refers the Christians 
there to that, as the only true one, in opposition to the arbitrary 
disfigurement of the gospel, in which the false teachers had allowed 

Vers. 7, 8. The ratification of the doctrine, and authentication 
of the person, of Epaphras, here pronounced, are important, as shew 
ing how the apostles considered themselves as the true possessors of 
pure evangelical truth, and maintained their title. He whom they 
did not recognize was by that very circumstance shut out from the 
body of Christ, the true church of the Lord, entirely in accordance 
with the word of the Saviour : " As my Father hath sent me, so do 
I send you" (John xx. 21) ; " He that heareth you, heareth me, and 
he that despiseth you, despiseth me" (Luke x. 16). The apostles 
were representatives of Christ (2 Cor. v. 20), " We are ambassadors 
in Christ s stead, for God admonisheth through us ;" the apostolical 
assistants were in their turn representatives of the apostles. This 
position Paul here expressly assigns to Epaphras, as he not only 
names him as his beloved fellow-servant (see iv. 7, ovvdovhos KV ttvpiu : 
in the LXX. it stands for mss., Ezra iv. 7, 9 ; v. 3, 6 ; vi. 13), but 
also rtLaroq Sidicovog rov Xpiarov in his (the apostle s) stead. It is 
true, the text. rec. reads mo-b$ imp vfttiv didnovog, but the MSS. A. 
D.G. read imp rjfi&v, which could easily be altered to vptiv, but 
scarcely vptiv to rjfi&v. Lachmann has, therefore, with reason 
admitted fm&v into the text. As to the rest, the person of Epa 
phras has been already mentioned in the Introduction (sect. 1). 
According to iv. 12 he seems to have been a born Colossian. Paul 
had perhaps, during his long stay in Ephesus, sent him out into the 
neighbourhood, and caused the gospel to be proclaimed by him in 
those cities of Asia and Phrygia which he could not touch at him 
self. It was Epaphras, too, according to verse 8, who had given 
Paul information as to the state of the church in Colossa?. If here 
mention is made merely of the love of the Christians there, of which 
Epaphras informed Paul, other information is not thereby excluded, 
especially that as to the threatening false teachers ; Paul, however, 


does not find occasion to introduce this at once at the commence 
ment of his epistle. As to the rest, the love of the Colossian Christ 
ians is by the addition v -rrvev^ari, in spirit, designated as one kin 
dled by the Holy Ghost, and therefore distinguished from mere 
natural love. 

Ver. 9. Exactly as in Eph. i. 15, Paul in what follows resumes 
the subject of his diligence in prayer for them, which had been 
already touched on in verse 3, and details what he prayed for on be 
half of the Christians in Colossas. He designates this his praying as 
an uninterrupted one since the day that he heard of them and their 
faith. (Ata rovro connects verse 9 with what precedes, so that the 
life then existing in the Colossians was the motive to Paul to 
pray for the perfection of his readers in it. Al-eiodai, after rrpo- 
aev%oOai denotes the special act of beseeching in the more general 
idea of praying. On the use of Iva after verbs of commanding, 
praying, etc., see Winer s Gr., 41, 1. The construction of TT^IJ- 
povodat, with the accusative is quite regular. See Winer s Gr., 

Paul then wishes and beseeches for his readers that they may be 
filled with the knowledge of the Divine will, which makes known 
and proves itself in all wisdom and spiritual knowledge. On <ro0ia 
and ovveaig we have already observed what was necessary at Eph. i. 
8, which passage stands parallel to this. The idea of being filled 
with the knowledge of the Divine will is explained by the fact, that 
is with Paul no mere act of reflection, to which certainly 
i would not be adapted, but an essential contemplation, 
which has its origin in the communication of the Holy Ghost. The 
idea, therefore, might be paraphrased thus : " that ye may be filled 
by the Holy Ghost, and by means of his illumination may receive 
knowledge." But "knowledge" is, by the addition rov defafaa-rog 
avrov, designated as practical knowledge, in opposition to an un 
fruitful theoretical knowledge, such as the false teachers strove to 
attain. (See on ii. 8, 23.) Steiger s view is therefore wholly erro 
neous. He distinguishes yvtiaig from i-niyruoig by explaining yv&aig 
of vague knowledge without perfect insight into the essence ; im- 
yvwaig, of a more minute and special discerning, the result of reflec 
tion and endeavour. The fluctuating nature of his view is suffi 
ciently apparent from the single fact of his adducing alongside of 
this still another definition. Eniyvumg, he says, is sometimes above, 
sometimes beneath yv&cng : if the latter, then yv&oi$ means the full, 
pure knowledge of things which arises in intellectual contempla 
tion ; and imyvuais, on the contrary, is then the result of a partial 
investigation in a more laborious way. As already observed at Eph. i. 
8, there is no specific difference at all Between yvtiaig and tirfyvwtf to 
be assumed in the language of the New Testament, and particularly of 

174 COLOSSIANS I. 10, 11. 

Paul ; both term sal ways denote immediate knowledge by the reason 
through the perception of the eternal, by means of the vovg illuminated 
by the Holy Ghost (compare on ii. 3) ; on the other hand, the insight 
gained through the understanding by reflective processes is called 
<pp6vT]au; or ovveoig. (See my Opusc. Acad. p. 156, seq.) 

Ver. 10. From the true practical knowledge of God proceeds of 
itself an outward walk which is worthy of the Lord, i. e., redounds 
to his glory. The infin. Tczpi-xarriaat, is not a second prayer, as if co 
ordinate with Iva TrXripuOi iTe ; the " walking" is to be viewed as de 
pendent on the knowledge of the Divine will, so that the meaning 
of the words is : " in order (by means of this knowledge) to be able 
to walk worthy of the Lord," in which it is implied that this is im 
possible without that knowledge. The dg Ttdoav dpeaiteiav then indi 
cates the aim of the truly Christian walk, " to please the Lord in 
every respect." ( Apsaifeia is not found again in the New Testament. 
In profane writers it is used reprovingly in the sense of " coquetry." 
[See Theophr. char. ch. 5.] Evdonia is more usual with Paul. On 
the relation between Kapxotyopelv and avgavsaOat, see at verse 6. Both 
are here plainly referred to works by the addition iv navrl tpyoj 
dya6&, i. e., in works, which, as proceeding from faith and love, are 
truly pleasing to God. The words ry imyvuaei rov Qeov represent 
the bringing forth fruit as effected through the knowledge of God 
designated in verse 9. No distinction is to be sought between the 
knowledge of God and that of his will ; every true knowledge of 
God is precisely that of his will, because the being of God is not 
to be separated from his will. The reading of the text. rec. dg 
r?)v imyvuaiv has most decided extrinsic and intrinsic arguments 
against it.) 

Yer. 11. The character of those who can bring forth fruit in 
every good work is more accurately defined to the effect, that the 
spiritual strength requisite for it is imparted to them by Gocl : " as 
those who are strengthened in all might, according to the power of 
his (i. e., God s) glory." (On the relation between 6vvap.ig and 
tepdrog see at Eph. i. 19. On Kpd-og r^jg dofyg see at Eph. i. 6, 12, 
14, 18.) It cannot be doubted that by the dwa^ov^evoL aa-d -b 
Kparof, " strengthened in accordance with his power," the strength 
ening of believers is designated as proceeding from God. God him 
self fulfils his will by his Spirit in them ! Exactly corresponding 
to the word : " with God nothing is impossible," and to this other : 
" to him that believes all things are possible," for it is God who 
works in the believer. (See the Comm. on Matth. xix. 26 ; Mark 
ix. 23.) But Qeov must not be supplied at KV -ndoij dvvdpei, also ; on 
the contrary, irdaq plainly points to the variety of human situations 
and wants, and of the strength requisite for them. These forms of 
life, in which that strength is a necessity, are more closely defined 

COLOSSIANS I. 12. 175 

by e/f -ndaav vTro[j.ovf}v KOI paKpodviJ,tav,for all patience and long-suf 
fering. Paul is thinking of times of suffering and temptation of 
various kinds, such as then befell every church, in which events the 
faithful have to approve their patience and forbearance, and that, 
not by any means in peevish despondency, but ivith joy, as in 
this too fulfilling God s will. The words juera %apa$- are indeed by 
several critical authorities joined with e&goptorovvrt?, which follows, 
but Steiger and Bahr have rightly rejected it. For evxapioruv it 
self alone conveys the idea of joyful resignation to God s will ; but 
vTro[j,ovT] and \LaKpoQv\iia need the defining pera %apd(; } in order to char 
acterize them as genuinely Christian. 

Ver. 12. From the state of mind described in the foregoing 
verses flows naturally the prayer of thanksgiving to God. For he 
that in God s might can bring forth fruits in good works finds in it an 
inexpressible joy (the feeling of which urges him to thanksgiving 
towards the Father of light, who has regenerated him to such an ex 
istence), and at the same time a guarantee of his future eternal 
happiness. He sees that he is by the Spirit made fit for the holy 
kingdom of God ; that he bears it in himself even here below, and 
that therefore it shall yet certainly belong to him. Under this train 
of thought Paul here gives prominence to the idea of c: Father" 
(proceeding from the consciousness of adoption), and that of being 
made meet. True, the readings vary here too very much, as in 
verse 3 ; for in some MSS. TW 9ew Trarp/, in others rw 0ew TO> Trarpi, 
etc., are read for TW -narpi. But these various readings are suffi 
ciently explained by the fact that nowhere else in Paul s epistles 
does 6 TTdTrjp occur alone. On the import of ueavou see 2 Cor. iii. 6. 
The aorist points to a single Divine action, by which the faithful 
are made meet, viz., to the work of Christ, as described in vers. 13 ; 
14. (MSS. D.G. read Kakwav-i for luav^aavri, ; MS. B. has both, 
side by side. Lachmann has, without sufficient reason, received 
this latter reading. Doubtless iKavuaav-i is the right reading. But 
those who referred the having made meet to the subjective state 
of mind, could easily take offence at it (because in none was the 
meetness absolutely realized), and therefore substitute Kaheaavri 
for it.) Lastly, the concluding words of the verse mention the 
object for which God the Father makes his children meet, viz., Y 
rf]v fiepida rov KA ijpov rtiv dyiuv. The saints, i. e., all regenerate, 
true children of God, conceived as a unity, have a joint Kkrjpog 
(n?q5), of which each individual has his fiepig (pV>i or "j^ri). In like 
manner, it is said, John xiv. 2, " in my Father s house are many 
mansions." Here the house answers to the /cAr/pof, the mansions in 
it to each individual pepi f. The question whether Paul here has in 
mind the earthly kingdom of God, or the heavenly world, is idle, 
inasmuch as his purpose is not to distinguish between the various 

176 COLOSSIANS I. 13 3 14. 

forms in which perfection may realize itself. That world is, as a 
portion left, by the Father to the children, without further distinc 
tion, contrasted with this sin-infected earthly world. Akin to the 
expression" in this passage are not only Eph. i. 18, tf Khr]povo[j,ia iv 
rolg dyioig, but also Acts xx. 32, K^rj^ovo^ia iv rolg ? ]yiaap,KVOL^ Traoiv, 
and xxvi. 18, nXfipog iv rolg riyiaofievoig. But in these passages the 
distinction between juep/f and K/b"/pof, which is so prominent here, is 
wanting. But a comparison with Canaan, the earthly heritage of 
Israel, in which every Israelite had his share, lies at the root of the 
whole form of expression. (See Heb. iv. 1, seq.) In conclusion, it 
is also a question how iv -w 0wrt is to be constructed. To connect 
it with iitavuaavTi, as if light were the element through which God 
has made the children of God meet, is altogether erroneous. $wf is 
never used in such connexion, but always Trvev^a. To refer it, with 
several of the Fathers, to baptism, is in like manner entirely inap 
propriate, as for this ^oma/zdf, at least, would have been employed ; 
and again, luav^aavri does not refer, as we have remarked above, to 
the already accomplished subjective process of being made meet, for 
Paul in fact is now praying (verse 9, seq.) that God may fill them 
with the knowledge of his will. We must rather take iv TOJ 0om, 
as descriptive of the nature of the nkfjpog r&v dyiuv. As in verse 
13 the element of sin is called oicorog, so here the element of good, 
in which the saints are, is called 0w? ; as children of light they are 
heirs of the kingdom of light. 

Vers. 13, 14. No pause can be made here with Griesbach ; on 
the contrary, Paul s discourse moves on again, as at Eph. i. 6, seq., 
by mere relatives, which join one clause to another by connecting it 
with the last substantive. God, who is the subject of the last pro 
position, is represented as the author of redemption by Christ (2 
Cor. v. 19). Redemption is represented as accomplished negatively 
by deliverance from the power of darkness, positively by translation 
into the kingdom of Christ. The power of darkness (i^ovaia GKO- 
Tov^), as an antithesis to the kingdom, of Christ, is not merely sub 
jective sinfulness, but this in connexion with the entire element of 
evil in the devil and in his angels. The deliverance of the faithful 
from the power of darkness does not, however, exclude the continued 
conflict against the evil powers ; on the contrary, Paul describes it 
as subsisting specially for Christians (Eph. vi. 12, seq.) Deliverance 
from the power of darkness consists rather in the very fact that the 
believer through faith knows himself as Christ s servant, and there 
fore can fight against darkness as ivitliout him, as himself belonging 
to it no more. But this deliverance from one element and its de 
termining influence supposes a being transferred to another ele 
ment ; this is denoted by the phrase : nersorrjaev elg TTJV paotXeiav 
rov vlov rrjs dyaTTTjg avrov. Here, just as in Luke xvii. 21, the king- 

COLOSSIANS I. 15. 177 

dom of Christ is imagined as inwardly present, " the kingdom of 
God is inwardly in the faithful, and they in it ;" Christ is that 
spiritual kingdom itself, he is in us and we in him. Into this spirit 
ual kingdom the regenerate man is even here below. transplanted in 
the spirit, as he also through the death of the old man presses 
through unto life even here below (1 John iii. 14). Christ s kingdom 
is, therefore, here not the same as the ^pig rov Kkijpov r&v dyiwu 
(ver. 12) which designates the future state in glory, in which man 
will be in a holy and perfect state as to all his powers, even as to 
his body. The name that Christ bears here is also peculiar : 6 vlb$ 
TIJS dyaTTTjg avrov } Son of his love. It is erroneously taken as a 
merely hebraizing designation of vlbg dyanrjrog, beloved Son; the ex 
pression rather corresponds in Paul to the povoyevfo of John (see on 
John i. 18). Christ is called " Son of his love," inasmuch as he was 
born of the essence of God, as Augustine (de Trinit. xv. 19) correctly 
interprets it : films caritatis nullus est alius, quam qui de substantia 
est genitus. This Son of the Divine love is the personal love itself, 
which induced him to give himself up unto death for men ; there 
fore it is further said of Christ, : iv & t%o/zev rrjv d-iro^vrpcjaiv, K. r. A., 
words which we have already explained at Epb. i. 7. Not merely 
through him, says Paul, is redemption accomplished ; we rather pos 
sess it as an abiding reality in him ; Christ is from his represen 
tative character the never-failing source of redemption ; he alone 
who is in him truly possesses it. Finally, dia rov ai^aro^ avrov is to 
be struck out here in accordance with A.B.C.D.E.F.G. It seems to 
have only come into the text here from Eph. i. 7. 

Ver. 15. To the above Paul now subjoins a detailed description 
of the person of Christ, which is unmistakeably designed to have a 
bearing on the Colossian false teachers. This passage forms, along 
with Eph. i. 20-23 and Phil. ii. 6-11, the leading passage in Paul s 
epistles on their doctrine concerning Christ, and has therefore, as 
may be supposed, equally attracted the attention of interpreters and 
theologians, especially of the writers who treat of Paul s system of doc 
trine. We have even to mention particular treatises on this impor 
tant passage, especially that of Schleiermacher (Stud, for 1832, part 
2, reprinted in his collected w r orks relating to Theology, vol. i., p. 321- 
3G1), and against it the works of Holzhausen and Osiander (in the 
Tubingen Journal for 1833, pt. 1). As to the division of this entire 
important section, Bahr (p. 54) will have it that in vers. 17, 18, an 
advance is indicated by nal avro$. He supposes in vers. 15, 16 the 
relation of the Son to the Father, in ver. 17 that of Christ to the 
world in general, and from ver. 18 onwards the relation to the church, 
as the new creation, are treated of. But ver. 16 is decidedly against 
this view, as it already describes the relation of Christ to the world ; 
we can therefore ascribe to nal avrog no such decisive importance in 
VOL. V. 12 

178 COLOSSIANS I. 15. 

the division. Even the TrpwroroKo^ nda^ a-iaevg contains a reference 
to Christ s relation to the creation. We can distinguish two parts 
only : 1, In vers. 15-17, Christ is delineated without reference to his 
incarnation ; 2, in vers. 18-20 with that reference. 

First, Christ is called dnwv rov Qeov rov dopdrov, image of the 
invisible God. Paul had already at 2 Cor. iv. 4 called Christ dnwv 
-ov Qeov (dopdrov is there spurious) ; it is a question what the ex 
pression, when used of Christ, means, for the image of God is attrib 
uted to man too (see iii. 19). But as everything is created through 
Christ (ver. 16), so is man too ; he, consequently, has the image of 
God in a derivative manner only, he is the image of the image, 
Christ is the original image of God. It must not be concluded from 
the absence of the article that we must translate in this passage, " an 
image of God ;" on the contrary, the article is wanting because ekwv 
r. 0. is a familiar collective idea, like 7cvevjj,a r. Q.,vib$ r.Q. ; in 2 
Cor. iv. 4 the article is wanting in the same manner, and even Philo 
uses dituv r. 6. without the article. It would be altogether a mis 
take to refer this expression, " Christ is the original image of God," 
to the human nature of Christ along with the Divine one, as do 
Junker and Schleiermacher ; for here the Son of God, still purely 
in his eternal Divine being, is set on a par with the Father. It 
would be just as wrong to attribute to the term, ekciv the idea of 
" the designedly-made or formed ;" Christ would thus be degraded 
into a creature. The meaning of the term is here made completely 
plain by the epithet doparog (1 Tim. i. 17). Christ is not called im 
age of God as a being formed after God, but as he who manifests, so 
that they can be seen in him, the fulness of the essence and of the 
Divine attributes, which are hidden in the Father. (So correctly, 
besides Biihr, Steiger, and Bohmer, Usteri also, on Paul s doctrinal 
system, p. 308.) As, therefore, it is said, John i. 18, Qeov ovdelg 

7roT (1 Tim. vi. 16, (f>tig OLK.&V a~p6airov, ov eldev ovdelg dvdp&- 
, ovde Idelv dvvarat), but it is added afterwards, 6 novoyevfa vlb<; 

iyrjoaro, so Paul designates the Father as not to be viewed 
(for there is manifestly no question here as to material vision), but 
as manifesting himself in the reflection of his essence (Heb. i. 3) the 
Sou. Accordingly, then, our Lord says too, Johnjxiv. 9 : "he that 
sees me sees the Father, for the Father manifests himself through 
the Son," who bears his form (ev poppy Qeov vxapxei, Phil. ii. 6). Thus 
taken, then, the essential equality is expressed in the name ekwv r. 
9., but, as being begotten is implied in the name vlog, so is the radi 
ation of the Divine glory in dn&v. The Father is the source, the 
eternal and original cause, of light, from whom the Son, as image of 
the Divine nature, proceeds. (Even Philo had this view of the rela 
tion of the Son to the Father correctly in the essential points. Com 
pare some passages from him belonging to this subject in Usteri 

COLOSSIANS I. 15. 179 

ubi suprd; they are fully collected in Grossmann, Qucestiones PJii- 
lonece, Lips. 1829. The idea of a nsifcw, in which God manifests 
himself, is found even in the Old Testament [see Numb. xii. 8 ; Ps. 
xvii. 15], and from those intimations it passed over to the Cabal- 
istSj who describe the Metatron [comp. on John i. 1] as God s image 
or countenance.) 

The second phrase, by which Christ s nature is described, is Trpw- 
ToroKog Trdarjc; K-iaeug. That mJf stands here without an article, as 
already observed at Eph. ii. 21, for totus, according to later usage, 
Ba hr has already correctly remarked. The /crime; is the whole of the 
creation, not the creation in its individual parts. But the term rrpw- 
ToroKog is difficult, and one cannot but think it very intelligible that, 
from the first, Arians, Socinians, and other impugners of the Divine 
nature of Christ, strove to found their views on this passage. For 
it must be granted that the words TrpuroroKog -ndarjg Kriaewg, viewed 
purely grammatically, can be so understood that Christ himself is 
reckoned in the ICT IOU;, and is only placed at the summit of the whole 
KTimg. The possibility of such an explanation of the words is suffi 
ciently proved by the following Trpcororo/coo TWV vercp&v, which cannot 
be understood otherwise than that Christ himself was dead too. But 
the entire context is so decisive against this explanation, that 
we cannot hesitate to assign to the phrase Trpwro TOKOf rrjg Kriaeug 
another sense. For, in vers. 16, 17, all created things are repre 
sented as in absolute dependency on him, the Son of God, who 
cannot, therefore, possibly be designated as himself belonging to 
the rank of creatures. The appeal to the passages of the books 
of wisdom (Prov. viii. 22, KKTHJE pe dpxrjv 6dtiv, LXX., Sir. i. 4. 9, 
Trportpa irdv-G)v KKTiorat aocpia, Kvpiog avrb^ KKTIOBV avrrjv ) can there 
fore prove nothing, for in the latter KT I&LV is merely used in a more 
extended sense = yevvdv. The aoQia is by no means represented as 
itself KTiafia. To interpret the passage by altering the accent, with 
Erasmus, J. D. Michaelis, and others, will at the present day hardly 
suggest itself to any. For TrpwroroKof is used as feminine only, 
?J TrpwTw? rs^aaa, as Thomas Magister explains it. But even apart 
from this, the creative agency of the Adyo^ can never be designated 
by rinreiVj and indeed such a combination with rrpwro^ would make 
but an unfitting sense ; for, if Christ were called primus gtnitor 
totius creatures, it would seem that there were several more, without 
and after him. But just as little can Schleiermacher s proposition 
claim approval. He unites -rrp^ToroKbg with ekwv (as he in verse 18 
joins also apx?! TrpuroTorcog together, but just as unsuitably), in the 
sense : " Christ is, in the collective compass of the spiritual world of 
men, the first-born image of God." The interpretation of the term 
of the world of men is, it is true, not impossible in itself, for 

180 - COLOSSIANS I. 15. 

mankind can certainly, as an essential part of the creation, be desig 
nated by the term K-iaig. (See on Kom. viii. 19, and on Col. i. 
23.) But Trdaa ?/ Kriotg without any further limitation never does 
and never can so occur, nor docs the context here permit that 
signification. Ta rravra in ver. 16 plainly interprets ndaa Kriatg, 
which precedes, as the entire creation. But, even apart from this, 
Schleiermacher s interpretation is totally inadmissible. For, first. 
TrpwroTOKOf seems an unsuitable epithet for ekwv. Bohmer has 
already justly remarked that we should rather have expected -rrpu- 
Torwrrog. But, secondly, grammar necessarily requires the article 
before npuroroKog as connected with duuv, as Matth. i. 25, rbv 
vlbv av-?jg rbv Trpwrdro/co^, shews. (See Winer s Gr. 20. 1.) The 
omission of the article is only explained by the supposition that 
TrpuTo-oKog is treated as a well-known idea, which, besides, in the 
connexion with ndorjg Krioeug^ cannot belong to any other. The 
use of this phrase had, no doubt, its origin in the Old Testament, 
where it is said, Ps. Ixxxix. 27, ayw -rrp^roronov (vss) 
avrov. (See Heb. i. 6.) Philo calls the koyog both-ekwv and 
yovog (see Ba hr on this passage, p. 61), a name near akin to the 
ysv?i$ of John. In the same way Jehovah is called in the Cabala 
the first-born, as the original manifestation of the infinite, through 
whom the creation is effected. Accordingly the name Trpwrdro/cof rrjg 
KTiaeug can only, with the oldest Fathers, be taken so that the genitive 
is dependent on the rrpwrof in the signification of prior (see at John 
i. 15), in the sense, rrpuroTOKog -rrpb KCLVTUV -r&v Kria^druv^ as Justin 
Martyr calls the Adyof, in perfect accordance with the phrase in ver. 
17, avrog KO-I rrpo ndvrcov. It is then implied in the name that the 
Son of God is born of God in the beginning before every creature. 

That Paul then represents Christ as ekwv r. 9., as -rrpuTo-onog 7% 
KTIOEUS, had doubtless its origin in the circumstance that the heretics 
in Colossas called in question the Divine dignity of Christ. In all 
probability they saw in Christ a mere man (like Cerinthus and his 
disciples) with whom at his baptism a higher ^Eon had united itself, 
but which again left him after the completion of the work of re 
demption. The supposition of Steiger and others (p. 139) that the 
Colossian false teachers themselves employed the terms dn&v and 
-rrpuroTOKog of Christ, only in another sense, is extremely improbable. 
Had that been the case, Paul would have defined these terms more 
accurately that it might be perceived wherein the genuine apostoli 
cal use of them differed from the false one of those false teachers. 
But such exact limitations are wholly wanting. On the contrary, 
Paul uses the name Trpwrdro/co^ rrda^g KTIOEVS with so little re 
serve that it might be understood in a sense derogatory to Christ, 
which surely would have been avoided, if the heretics, whom Paul 
means to combat, had applied the word in an exactly similar way. 

COLOSSIANS I. 16. 181 

But the apostle s mode of expression seems appropriate, if the here 
tics, in like manner as Cerinthus and his school, proclaimed Christ 
directly an ordinary man, and merely supposed an ,ZEon to have heen 
united to him during his Messianic ministry ; Paul s argument lies 
in the idea, not the words. 

Veri 16. With all the difference in the expressions there still 
appears in the iking the completest agreement between the Chris- 
tologies of John and Paul. The names dituv T. 9., TrpwrdroKof Trdarjs 
KTioeug, John is a stranger to, but, on the other hand, he likewise de 
clares that we see in the Son the invisible Father in all his glory, 
that the Son is the only-bego tten of the Father. So now verse 16 
too corresponds perfectly with the description in John i. 3, -rravra 61 
avrov ijivero, KOI %(*)pl(; avrov eyevero OV&K $v b -yeyove. (Compare also 
Heb. i. 4, xi. 3.) But the idea that all is created in Christ is joined 
by Paul with what precedes by on, and by that means the sense 
which we obtained of irpurorotcos ndarjs itriaeus is established. " He 
(the Son of God) must have been born of the substance of the 
Father before all the creation, for all things are created in him." 
Considering the accurate distinction drawn afterwards between the 
prepositions did, el$, KV, it is extremely improbable that lv stands here 
instead of did; KV rather denotes here very comprehensively the con 
nexion of the Son with the creation, which is afterwards divided 
into its individual relations. " In him are all things created, i. e., 
the Son of God is the intelligible world, the icoouog vorjrog, i. e., 
tilings themselves in their idea ; he carries their essentiality in him 
self ;" in the creation they come forth from him to an independent 
existence, in the completion of all things they return to him. The re 
ferring of TO, -ndvra merely to the collective body of the regenerate, and 
of KTI&IV to the transforming energy in regeneration, is. quite in 
admissible, as the following development of the purport of ndvra 
shews. It is incomprehensible how Schleiermacher could say (ubi 
supra, p. 507) uri&iv is not used for N^a of creating, as it often occurs 
so, Deut. iv. 32 ; Ps. L. 11 ; Isaiah xlv. 7, and elsewhere. (Cf. 
Schleusn. Lex. in LXX. vol. iii. p. 402.) The import of -ndvra is 
now carried out by two antitheses, rd KV rolg ovgavoig KOI TO, m r^ 
yrjg, things in heaven and things on. earth (cf. Eph. i. 10 ; Eev. x. 
6), rd dpard KCU rd dopara, things visible and invisible, which express 
the ideal and material elements of the creation, and consequently 
its totality. Then, in continuation, the highest forms of these two 
departments of the creation are named separately, dre Opovoi, ehe 
Kvpiorrjreg, sirs dp%al, dre t-ovaiai, whether thrones, or dominions, or 
principalities, or powers, in which there is the assumption that, if 
the highest is created in Christ, it is self-evident that the low and 
insignificant is so too. From Col. ii. 10, 15, and the remarks on 
Eph. i. 21, it cannot be doubtful that Paul means by these four 

182 COLOSSIANS I. 17. 

synonymous expressions particularly to designate powers of the 
spiritual world, angels and angel-princes, without making a more 
definite distinction between good and had angels. On the impos 
sibility of defining more accurately the differences between the 
separate expressions we have already explained ourselves at Eph. 
i. 21. 

But the question may arise whether, in the connexion with the 
foregoing antitheses, heaven and earth, visible and invisible, we are 
not in the four names of governors and powers, at the same time 
with heavenly powers, kings, princes, magistrates, to suppose earthly 
ones also to be meant, who indeed, as" administering their offices in 
the name of God, are even called Elohim in the Old Testament. 
For the assumption, that reference is here made only to earthly re 
lations, which even Schleiermacher has propounded, is at all events 
inadmissible. That divine would even understand the antitheses ra 
iv rolg ovpavolg, K. r. A., thus : " everything that refers to heavenly, 
i. e. } religious, relations, and which refers to political, legal condi 
tions." This is decidedly inadmissible, because, no doubt, in Paul s 
declaration that everything on high was created in Christ, conse 
quently he is higher than all high things, is couched an antithesis 
against the view of the Colossian heretics as to the dignity of the 
angels, whom they, according to the Gnostic idea of the .ZEons, even 
adored with invocation and worship (cf. on Col. ii. 18), and with the 
greatest probability named by these and similar names. (See Steiger 
and Biihr in their Cornms. on this passage, where passages of the 
later Gnostics are collected.) Paul, however, did not borrow them 
from the language of the Gnostics ; they were familiar to him al 
ready from the general sphere of Jewish ideas in which he had grown 
up. But certainly the notion that Paul had in mind earthly powers 
along with the heavenly ones, is not without plausibility, as directly 
after, in ver. 17, rd ndvra appears again, and Paul manifestly intends 
to represent the absolute totality of the creation as determined in 
its existence by Christ. Still we find no trustworthy passage else 
where, in which these expressions, used altogether commonly of 
angels, are employed of earthly powers. If we would lay stress on 
the fact that Christ is elsewhere with reference to earthly powers 
called King of kings, Lord of lords (1 Tim. vi. 15 ; Rev. i. 5, xvii. 
15, xix. 1G), it seems more reasonable to find this dominion of Christ s 
over every earthly greatness in the words rd cnl rTjg 77/5-, than in the 
names Opovoi, K. -. A. 

Ver. 17. After this partition of the universe Paul again takes 
up the opening words of verse 16, KV ai>~& EK-iadr] rd iravra, in him 
all things were created, and shews how the creation in its totality 
sustains in all the dimensions of time, the present, the past, and the 
future, a relation of absolute dependence on Christ, who t s, as the 

COLOSSIANS I. 18. 183 

Eternal One, "before everything that was created, whereas everything 
in the nature of a creature ivas made. (See on John i. 3.) The 
various relations of the creature to the Eternal are expressed by the 
prepositions Sid, elg, and tV. Am refers to the origin of the creature, 
which proceeds from the Father through the Son ; rig refers to its 
end, as all is created to or for him as the final goal of things (see 
verse 20); on the other hand v points, as aweorrjics unmistakeably 
shews, "" to the present existence of the world, which is always in the 
Son, inasmuch as he supports and upholds the world with his word 
(Heb. i. 3), and the upholding may also be considered as a continu 
ous creation. There is but one difficult point in this description, 
which sets forth Christ s Divine nature in the most distinct manner; 
and that is that elsewhere the relation of the Holy Ghost to the 
creature is usually expressed by the prepositions rig and iv (see on 
Horn. xi. 36), but here the Son is exclusively the subject. In other 
passages, e. g., 1 Cor. viii. 6, rig is also used of the Father. How 
ever, this difficulty is satisfactorily explained by the fact, that to 
each single one of the three Divine persons, just because they are 
real persons, and bear life in themselves, all relations of the Trinity 
can be attributed. Still, the prepositions tf and VKO, by which 
the relation of the creature to the Father is usually designated, are 
never assigned to the Son and the Spirit, but those usual with the 
Son and the Spirit are certainly found attributed to the Father, and 
those used with the Spirit are found given to the Son. Again, it is 
never said, "the Son has created the world," but constantly " it is 
created through him." The absoluteness of the Father, as the 
foundation also of the Son and of the Spirit, comes out unmistake- 
ably in this mode of speech. 

Yer. 18. After this there follows in this outline of the apostolic 
Christology the especial relation of Christ to the church, which sup 
poses his incarnation. He, the eternal Son of God, who is infinitely 
exalted above every creature, he himself has even entered into the 
life of a creature, and has himself tasted death ; but even in this 
relation to the creature and its sufferings he is the leader and guide 
of all. Paul designates the Lord first as the K0aA?) rov ou^arog, 
head of the body (see Eph. i. 22), in which is involved the exhortation 
to allow ourselves to be controlled by him who is the head ; this 
those false teachers did not do, and it was for this reason they 
were so blameable. Secondly, Christ is called dp^, -npuroTOKog t 
r&v veitp&v. Here the connecting of dp^t) -rrpuroroKog is certainly 
more explicable ; for dp%TJ without an article seems scarcely natural 
beside the substantive-like Trpu-oTOKog. In some MSS. we find ?/ 
dpxrj, in others dirapxij, in others kv dpxfi, but in such unimportant 
ones, that these readings can make no claim to reception into 
* Sec Biihr, p. 82. and the passages cited there. 

184 COLOSSIANS I. 18. 

the text. But the combination "first-born beginning seems also 
incongruous ; an adjective like irpuroTOKoc; , which must refer to a con 
crete, does not accord with dp%rj as an abstract. For to take dp^ij 
outright for dnap%rj } " first-fruits/ is in itself of doubtful possibility, 
and the expression thus taken coincides with TT/OWTOTOKO^ which is 
used as = vss. The two must therefore be separated, and TT-pwro- 
-oKog KK T&V vetcptiv be taken as limiting more exactly the more gen 
eral PCT. The absence of the article with dp%rj is explained by the 
abstract form of the word (see Winer s Gr. 19, 1). Christ, how 
ever, is not called " beginning" in the sense in which he is above 
called TrpwrdroKOf rf/g, /mcrewf, i. c., not as he in whom the creature, 
as such, has its beginning, but as he who in the life of the creature, 
which was fallen under the power of death, himself established a new 
beginning through his victory over death. Christ is called in the 
same sense dp%r)y6<; : Heb. ii. 10, xii. 2. This reference must be ad 
hered to, because Christ is here absolutely represented as the incar 
nate man. How far Christ is precisely called " the beginning/ is 
more accurately determined by the addition irpuroroKog t /c rwv ve- 
KQ&V. Christ himself was dead, and, as such, among the dead in 
Hades, but he was the first of them, who by resurrection unto life 
was born in the glorified body, and thus became the beginning of 
a new series of developments. In his unglorified humanity he was 
through Mary t/c aTre^fiarog ^aj3i6 } therefore ranked among man 
kind as such ; but when glorified he was an absolutely new man, the 
dpx?j. (In Kcv. i. 5 t-K is wanting, and Christ is called merely 6 Trpw- 
TOToiwg T&V vetcp&v. On the other hand, in Rom. viii. 29 we find the 
expression rrpuroroKog KV TroAAoZf dde/100%-.) 

His raising of many from the dead cannot be adduced against 
Christ s being called TrpuroroKog e/c TWV veitp&v } for those were raised 
with their mortal bodies, and died again at a later day. Enoch 
and Elias did not taste death at all, and neither can they be 
cited against Christ as the first-born of the dead. In general, the 
corporeal glorification o/ the body in those Old Testament worthies 
seems to have been a preliminary one only, which cannot be com 
pared with Christ s glorification. Nor, certainly, is a reference of 
the words dpxfi, Trpwroro/cof, to the customary language of the Gnostic 
false teachers to be looked for here ; had the latter employed those 
expressions in another sense, Paul would have defined more accu 
rately the true sense in which they must be used. An antithesis 
could be couched in Paul s words only so far as they seem to 
assert the reality of the resurrection against spiritualistic false doc 
trines. But this epistle contains no definite declaration of any do- 
cetic tendency in the false teachers, as will be detailed farther on 
(see at ver. 22); Paul seems to have intended to designate Christ 
only as the beginner of the glorification. According to the theologi- 

COLOSSIANS I. 19. 185 

cal conception of the life of Jesus, Paul sees in it a special Divine 
design ; Christ was necessarily thus the first-born of the dead under 
God s direction, in order to have in all things the pre-eminence ; he, 
the Lord of all things, was necessarily to have the first place in all 
earthly relations also. Ev rrdaiv is not, with Beza, Flatt, Heinrichs, 
and others, to be taken as masculine, " among all men/ for then 
Trdvruv would certainly have stood, but as neuter, " in all points, in 
every respect." Excellently says Chrysostom : rravra^ov -rrp^rog- 
avb) TipwTOf, KV Tij KKK^rjaia TrpwTO^, &v T?~/ dvaordoeL TTpwrot;, everywhere 
first : first on high, first in the church, first in the resurrection. 
(The verb irpurevu is not found in the New Testament except here. 
In the LXX., it is found Esther v. 11. It also occurs 2 Mace. vi. 
18, xiii. 15.) 

Ver. 19. Christ s precedence in all respects is grounded on the 
relation of the Divine to the human nature ; by God s good pleas 
ure there resided in him the whole fulness of the Divinity. He was 
therefore no mere man, like the rest, but the God-Man ; humanity 
was the residence, the temple, for the Divinity which filled him. 
Thus it is said of the faithful too (John xiv. 21) that Father and 
Son will come to them and take up their abode (ftovijv) with them. 
But while in Christ the ivliole fulness dwells, i. e., permanently 
manifests itself as active, the individual believer receives but a ray of 
the Divine light. The import of ndv TO TTvb/payia, all fulness, is authori 
tatively explained at ii. 9 by Tr/b/pw/m r~/f feoTTyro?, fulness of the God 
head. It is, therefore, the Divine essence itself, inasmuch as it is con 
ceived as comprehending in itself a fulness of vital powers ; with this 
the abstract form Oeo-fjg accords better than Qeog . But, as the Divine 
essence can manifest itself in an all-embracing (central), or partial, 
manner, rrav is added to express that in Christ the former is the 
case. But here again it may be asked, whether in the selection of 
the expression TrA^pw^a we may not suppose an allusion to the cus 
tomary language of the Gnostics. For the Gnostics used, as is well 
known, the word n^u^a to denote the kingdom of light, the world 
of .ZEons, in opposition to Kevo)jj.a. Now, as the Colossian false teach 
ers devoted a worship to the individual angels or JSons, Paul s de 
sign might have been to oppose the truth to those erroneous notions 
by describing Christ as the only object of adoration, in whom more 
than one .ZEon resided, that is to say, the whole rr/.7/pw//a. But we 
have already detailed at Eph. i. 23 the reasons which determine us 
not to suppose such an allusion to Gnostic language in the word 
TrAy/pw/m. We cannot prove that the false teachers in the time of 
the apostles used the word n^pufia as did the latter Gnostics. But, 
even were that demonstrable, Paul, if he had had in view an antithesis 
in the word Tr/u^pw/m, would have more strictly defined the* sense 
which he attached to it, in opposition to the Gnostic usage. We may 

186 COLOSSIANS I. 20. 

rather admit in the expression tca-oiKTiaai, a controversial reference to 
such Gnostic views as look upon Jesus animation by a higher ^iEon as 
only temporary, from his haptism till his death. (See the remarks 
on ii. 9.) Nevertheless, we must adhere to the principle of regard 
ing this whole passage as only a controversy with the heretical 
teachers in the mass and on the whole, and not against their special 
modes of expression, as Steiger and Ba hr particularly have assumed 
in great detail ; in no case have we a right to admit into the po 
lemical outline of the first chapter points which receive no confirma 
tion in the more exact delineation of the second. The false teach 
ers mistook the true Divinity of Christ, and placed ^Eons on a level 
with him as objects of veneration ; this it is which Paul combats by 
describing Christ as the Son of God, and as him through whom also 
all angels and powers have received their existence. In ver. 18, I 
should without hesitation see an opposition to docetic errors, if the 
passage occurred in the pastoral epistles, for the heretics there de 
scribed seem no doubt to have followed a docetic bias, but in the 
Epistle to the Colossians we find nothing of the kind ; on the con 
trary, the low view of Christ held by the false teachers combated in 
this epistle seems to point rather to a materialist tendency than to 
a spiritualist-docetic one. However, see particulars on this point at 
ver. 22, where the supposition that the Colossian false doctrines too 
had a docetic tendency has a certain plausibility. (That construc 
tion of this verse which regards -nav TO TTAijpuna as the subject of 
EvSonriae, " it pleased the whole fulness of the Godhead to reside in 
him," cannot possibly be approved. O Oeog is rather to be consid 
ered as the subject of evdoicrjoe, as the incarnation of the Son is re 
garded as the ordinance of the Divine decree of grace and mercy. 
In the selection of the word naroiiiiioai here and at ii. 9 a reference 
to the Shechinah is not improbable. [See at John i. 14 on that 
point.] Jesus walked on earth as an abiding Shechinah ; he that 
saw him saw the Father.) 

Ver. 20. As a further tendency of the Divine purpose of grace 
in Christ s incarnation, is named the reconciliation through Christ 
to himself, so that he is both means and end (ver. 16). What 
establishes the reconciliation (there is no real difference between 
elprjvo-noielv and d-oKarc^daaeiv ) is more strictly defined as the blood 
of Christ, and indeed as the blood of his cross, i. e., as the blood 
shed in the death of the Saviour on the cross, and for the sake of 
emphasis the & avrov is once more repeated. That the totality of 
the creation to be reconciled is here meant, is made more clear by 
the fact that the ~a Tidv-ra is explained by dre rd m T?J$ >%, ehe 
rd iv rolg ovpavolg (ver. 16). The difficulties of this passage have 
been Already spoken of in the explanation of the parallel one, Eph. 
i. 10. The more general term dvaKefiakaiuaactOai, used there, cannot 

COLOSSIANS I. 21, 22. 187 

be employed, as Bahr insists it can, to explain the more special 
a7ro/caraAAa|ai here, but vice versa the latter illustrates the former. 
But the absolute result here ascribed to the atonement of Christ 
must, as we proved at Eph. i. 10, be understood of its tendency. That 
resistance is made to the comprehensive Divine design of grace by a 
part of the creatures, is a point which is here not regarded by the 
apostle. As to the rest, rd ndvra cannot be interpreted here other 
wise than in what preceded (ver. 16, seq.), viz., of the absolute total 
ity of the creation, not merely of conscious beings ; for the recon 
ciling power of Christ, beginning with fallen men as the first objects 
of its operation, influences properly also the universe to its restora 
tion and perfection. (See at Korn. viii. 17, seq.) As to the rest, 
from what follows (vers. 2T-29), the reference to the Gentiles espe 
cially seems to have been present to Paul s mind in this representa 
tion of the universality of Christ s reconciling power ; these too, 
Paul means to say, are not to be imagined as shut out from salva 
tion in Christ, as the Judaistic false teachers probably maintained 
they were. 

Ver. 21. After finishing the portraiture of Christ, in opposition 
to the inferior representation of him by the false teachers, Paul ad 
dresses himself again to his readers, and remarks that they them 
selves have experienced the reconciling efficiency of Christ now (in 
the state of their conversion), whereas they once were estranged from 
God. In the parallel passage, Eph. ii. 1, 11, 12, the same opposi 
tion between nors and wvi is found, and a similar description of 
the unconverted state. In comparison with Col. ii. 13, and the ten 
dency of the false teachers, who insisted on Judaism as the necessary 
form of the religious life for the Gentiles also, it is extremely prob 
able that Paul, in this description of the state before conversion, had 
principally in his eye the born Gentiles among the Colossiaus, who 
probably composed the great majority of the church there. But, 
while at Eph. ii. 12 the Gentiles are described as alienated from the 
commonwealth of Israel, here " alienated" in combination with " ene 
mies" can only be referred to God. The ry diavoia refers, judging 
from its connexion, to both expressions, in order to characterize the 
alienation from and enmity against God, not as a mere outward one, 
but as an inward spiritual one, in like manner as at Eph. iv. 18 the 
Gentiles are described as KOK.O-LOIIKVOL ry diavoia,, aTTT/AAorpiw/^foi rfjg 
farjg rov Qeov } darkened in their understanding, etc. The addition 
v rolig Hpyoig rol^ Trovrjpolg, i. e., in the wicked works well known to 
all, expresses further and finally wherein the estrangement from and 
enmity against God manifests itself and is made known, as in the 
fruits of the disposition. 

Ver. 22. Paul here names "the death of Christ"* as what 
* See, as to the unusual expression in Paul " to be reconciled through the deaUi," in- 

188 COLOSSIANS I. 22. 

effects reconciliation, as just before (ver. 20) " the blood ;" but v TO> 
oupa-i rfjc oapKog avrov ig added. The combination o&fia rfjg aapicog, 
body of flesh, is not found in the New Testament except here and 
at ii. 11. It seems somewhat superfluous, for it is matter of course 
that the o&fia is of adp%. The formula can only be explained either 
by polemical considerations, or by the purpose of contrasting the 
<7W|U<z, as the physical one, with a spiritual awjua, i. e., the church (ver. 
24). For the former interpretation the later interpreters, Bohmer, 
Steiger, and Bahr, decide. They conclude, from the strict asceticism 
of the Colossian false teachers, that they necessarily look on matter 
as the seat of evil, and must, therefore, have taught Doceticism ; 
that Paul wished to combat the latter, and therefore asserts the 
true corporeity of Jesus and his real death. But that conclusion is 
by no means necessary, especially in that early age, in which errors 
had not as yet developed themselves in all their consequences. The 
Epistle to the Colossians contains not the slightest certain trace of 
docetic doctrines in the heretics of that place, such as the pastoral 
epistles undoubtedly betray. As the Jewish ascetics in Rome were 
free (Rom. xiv. 1, seq.) from docetic doctrines (for otherwise Paul 
would have refuted those errors, and not represented those ascetics 
as merely weak brethren), the same may be supposed of the Colos- 
sion false teachers also. Had they favoured such heresies, Paul 
could not have failed to direct an open attack against them. The 
allusion here is so cursory that we cannot possibly recognize in it a 
serious assault against so dangerous an error. We decide, therefore, 
for the other explanation, viz., that the subordinate limiting term, T% 
oapKog, distinguishes the ati^a from the church as the spiritual o&iia. 
Had Paul written merely wvl de aTTOKar^AAa^ev iv TW cu/mri 6ia 
TOV Oavdrov, the words might be naturally interpreted : " but now 
he has reconciled you through his death to unity in the church." To 
prevent this Paul added -nfc oapnog, which designates the body as 
the physical body of Christ upon which death passed. Another an 
tithesis found here by interpreters between o&fta rfjg aapnog and dc^?, 
is to be rejected, because nothing in the context leads to the distin 
guishing the natural and the glorified body. In Col. ii. 11 G&IJM 
T?/f aapifog refers not to Christ but to man. Here, therefore, the 
term requires a special consideration, as cap!; there denotes not 
merely the physical but also the sinful. However, Col. ii. 11 shews 
that the phrase o&fia ~7i<; oaptcog has no polemical character. The 
last words of ver. 22, napaaTTJaai vpdg dyiovq KOI d/j-upovg Kal dveyKAr)- 
rovg KarevuTuov avrov, to present you holy, etc., express the result of 
the reconciling work of Christ, which relates to the assimilating of 
believers to the Lord. (See on Eph. v. 25-27.) Here this result is 

stead of through the blood, of Christ, the remarks on Rom. iii. 25 (Vol. III., p. 547). 
It stands here only because 6iu TOV aifiarof came just before in ver. 20. 

COLOSSIANS I. 23. 189 

transferred to the time of the judgment, at which the faithful will 
appear before Christ, i. e., before his judgment-seat. (See on Rom. 
xiv. 10.) 

Ver. 23. As the condition of attaining this goal (e?ye, " if, that 
is, as I meanwhile may suppose," different from errep, see at 2 Cor. 
v. 3 ; Eph. iii. 2, iv. 21) Paul names the continuing grounded in 
faith and in hope, for it is only through the believing state of mind 
that man receives into himself the powers of the invisible world, 
which generate the new, spotless man, the Christ in us. The terms 
redef.t.e^iufj,Kvot Kal iSoaloi are to be explained by the figure of the 
temple, of the KaroiK rj-TJptov rov Qeov (Eph. ii. 22), in which every 
individual forms (1 Pet. ii. 5) a living stone, which is inserted firmly 
into the whole building through faith (see ii. 7). No doubt Paul, 
in using the i-ninsveiv and M?) peraiuveiaOcu, was thinking principally 
of the false teachers and their misleading, although personal moral 
unfaithfulness can also subvert the foundation of faith. The hope 
of the gospel is again to be taken objectively, as in ver. 5, so that 
the participation in the kingdom of God, which the gospel promises, 
must be understood by it. It is joined with p] [leraKivovpevoi as an 
abbreviated form for d-rrb rov euayye/uov /cat drro TT/$- EXnidos avrov. 
The apostle then extols anew (see ver. 6) the universality of the 
gospel, and designates himself as its (divinely ordained) minister (ver. 
25); both, we may suppose, in opposition to the heretics, who declared 
the Jews a privileged nation, and threw suspicions probably on 
Paul s apostolical authority, although they did not openly combat 
him, for otherwise more definite explanations on that point would 
be found in the epistle. (The aorist rov KTjpvxdsvrog is, as already 
observed at ver. 6, to be explained by prophetic vision ; Paul saw 
the universal tendency of Christianity already realized in the spirit. 
The -rrdaa tiriaic has here its restriction in the addition 7} VTTO rov ovpa- 
vov, therefore the earthly creation (/mcrtf Kmyetog) is the one meant. 
It is understood at once that by this, primarily, men, and indeed 
all, Jews as well as Gentiles, are intended [ver. 27, seq.] Still the 
choice of the expression is probably to be explained by the fact that 
Paul, as Eom. viii. 17, seq., shews, conceived nature also, along with 
mankind, as the object of the work of Christ. The iv before -rrdo^ 
Kriaei is also in favour of this interpretation ; for to designate the 
entire creation directly as the object of redemption, would require 
the dative alone.) 

190 COLOSSIANS I. 24. 

(i. 24 ii. 23.) 

The following obscure and difficult passage may be designated 
as a real crux interpretum, especially the Protestant ones. Before 
we enter upon the difficulties themselves, however, we have to point 
out what justifies us in making a fresh paragraph begin here. Were 
the reading of vvv, which D.E.F.G. defend, correct, undoubtedly 
ver. 24 would connect itself intimately with ver. 23. But the later 
critics generally have justly rejected oq, as it probably owes its origin 
only to the endeavour to connect ver. 24 more closely with ver. 23, 
to which it seemed to the copyists to belong, especially on account 
of ver. 25. But it is a mere illusion that ver. 25 is a continuation 
of ver. 23. On the contrary, Paul in ver. 24, with the vvv %atpw, 
K. r. A., begins a totally fresh idea, which, however, he does not carry 
out and complete till ii. 1, seq. ; in vers. 25-29 he allows himself, 
according to his custom, to be led away from it, in order to pursue 
the idea (so important to him on account of the Judaizing heretics 
in Colossae) that he is called, in the dispensation of God, to preach 
the gospel to all without exception, to the Gentiles no less than to 
the Jews. The fresh idea, however, is that the apostle s sufferings 
and conflicts are a means of perfection to the church of Christ, and 
consequently to each, individual also in her ; therefore their (the 
Colossians ) steady perseverance in the life of faith essentially de 
pends on them, and their increase is brought about by them, as is 
further detailed at ii. 22, seq. But, according to this, vvv cannot 
be a mere particle of transition, as Bahr still makes it, but a defini 
tion of time. Its emphatic position at the commencment (as at 2 Cor. 
vii. 9, where it is also to be taken as a particle of time), while as a mere 
particle of transition it usually stands after, at once refutes that sup 
position. (Comp. Matth. xxvii. 42, 43 ; Mark xv. 32 ; John ii. 8 ; 
Acts vii. 34 ; James iv. 13, v. 1 ; 1 John ii. 8.) But how does vvv 
obtain here its complete signification of time ? By reference back 
to the preceding rov EvayyeMov rov Krjpv^dKvrog. Paul, in the con 
sciousness of being near the end of his labours, contemplates the 
church as firmly established in the world, and from that contempla 
tion breaks out into the words, " now I rejoice in my sufferings for 
you, for these too serve to the perfection of the church :" working 
and suffering, Paul means to say, I am a minister and a promoter 
of the church ; I am thought worthy to take a part in the sufferings 
of Christ for truth and righteousness. (See Matth. v. 11, 12.) Liicko 
(Gottingen Christmas Programni of the year 1833) endeavours to 

COLOSSIANS I. 24. 191 

combine both meanings, that of succession aud that of time. He 
says, p. 6, verissimum hoc est, particulam vvv } ut solet etiam Lati- 
norum nunc, aliquid habere consecutionis, et quidem ita, ut Paulus 
dicat, se, quum de Icetissimis laborum suorum etiam apud Colos- 
senses fructibus audiveret, ob id ipsum gaudere de calamitatibus ex 
ilia re sibi ortis. At the end of the same treatise on this passage 
this scholar thus assigns (p. 15) the connexion with what precedes : 
quce cum ita sint (i. 3-23), tantum abest ut me pceniteat, inquit apos- 
tolus, ut gaudeam de malis, quce vestrd causa pertulerim. Liicke 
seems, therefore, certainly also to recognize the beginning of some 
thing new with ver. 24, even if he does ascribe to the vvv a connect 
ing signification. So likewise Goschen and Lachmann, who make 
a break at ver. 23 in their editions. The juov after -aOijfiaatv is cer 
tainly a gloss, but a correct one, for " sufferings" (iraOfyaTa) are = 
" afflictions in my flesh" (Oktyeis iv ry oapKi /J.GV). According to this 
interpretation of the particular words, neither can, in what follows, 
the VTTKQ vptiv of course be understood as "for your sakes," nor even 
" in your stead," bat " for yonr benefit." (See Eph. iii. 1, 13.) But 
the idea, " I rejoice in rny sufferings for you," which Paul expresses 
often enough, would not have put the interpreters into perplexit} , 
as it readily admits of being taken in a modifying form, e. g., what, 
as the extreme, presents itself first through the benefit which the 
example of a resigned sufferer affords, did not the words which 
follow give it apparently a meaning which may justly make one 
hesitate. However, taken literally, the words there following suit 
neither the Roman Catholic nor any other notion of the reconciling 
and redeeming force of human sufferings, e. g., that of Gichtel. 
For in all of them the suffering of the God-Man is certainly rep 
resented as in itself sufficient for redemption, and as the source 
through which alone the suffering of men can become a redeeming 
one also ;* but here the suffering of Christ himself seems to be rep 
resented as insufficient, so that Paul s suffering must first make it 
complete. Thus the incompleteness of Christ s sufferings, and the 
ability of Paul to fill up that deficiency, through his sufferings in 
the flesh for the church of Christ, seem to be asserted in this diffi 
cult passage ; assertions equally dark and repugnant to Scripture 
doctrine elsewhere. We readily conceive how the Roman Catholic 
Church eagerly seized on the passage, in order by its means to prop 
up plausibly their doctrine of the merits of the saints, and of the 
treasure of good works. But the phrase voreprj^a-a -tiv Oktyeuv rov 

* Thus the Roman Catholic Church refers the atoning sufferings of Christ especially 
to original sin, and the reconciling power of the sufferings of the faithful and of the 
saints to the actual sin of themselves and of others. But the redeeming power of human 
suffering is derived, along with faith and holiness themselves, from Christ s work as the 
final cause. 

192 COLOSSI ANS I. 24. 

Xpiarov, referred to Christ s person, contradicted, as we have just 
remarked, the Koman Catholic theory also of the sufficiency of 
Christ s sufferings. On the other hand, understood of the church, 
the words would certainly, taken by themselves, admit of an inter 
pretation favourable to these Koman Catholic doctrines ; but the 
apostolical doctrine, taken as a whole, contradicts so completely 
the idea of any redeeming and reconciling work of other men along 
with and beside the God-Man, that the interpreter is obliged to 
seek for the words another explanation. After setting aside several 
totally untenable interpretations of this passage, as that of Bolten 
(who translates : " now you cause me joy in my sufferings, and for 
the afflictions which I myself endure I have a recompense in his 
body, that is, in the church"), or that of Heinrichs* (" Jesus suffer 
ings had become known in Judea only; thus ra varepripara r<Zv 
QXtyeuv rov Xpiorov is the circumstance that they had not come to the 
knowledge of the Gentiles also, which Paul therefore, supplies by his 
suffering") the following, in which the decision turns on the expres 
sions dvravarrX.r]povv and O/tiipeig rov Xptorov, are to be more accurately 
considered. We must regard the latter as the leading idea for the 
whole passage ; for the nature of the vare^^ara and of the filling 
them up depends altogether on its import ; we therefore begin with 
the consideration of this. The genitive rov Xpiarov can be taken 
subjectively or objectively. In the latter relation the interpretation 
propter Christum can alone be tolerated ; for that of earlier theo 
logians, as Calovius, Sebastian Schmidt, Carpzovius, arid others, 
" sufferings which Christ sends," or even " which are similar to 
Christ s sufferings," are to be rejected as arbitrary, f But the inter 
pretation "sufferings for Christ s sake" is grammatically possible 
and defended by many interpreters, especially last by Bohiner also 
with an appeal to 2 Cor. i. 5 ; Philem. 13 ; Heb. xi. 26 ; among 
which passages, however, Philem. ver. 13 can alone be acknowl 
edged as a satisfactory proof. Lu cke has essentially the same view, 
though he takes the genitive somewhat differently, viz., as genitivus 
auctoris, so that the dktyeig rov Xptarov are sufferings quce Paulo 
apostolo, Christo auctore et auspice Christo, perferendce crant (1. c. 
p. 13, seq.) In Philem. vers. 1, 13, Eph. iii. 1, Gal. vi. 17, Lticke 
finds likewise this genitive of the author. This acceptation of the 

* Who gives at the end of his Commentary on this epistle a particular excursus on 
the passage Col. i. 24. 

f This holds, therefore, also of Schleiermacher s interpretation of this passage in the 
sermons upon this epistle, edited by Zabel. (Berlin, 1835, vol. 2, p. 259.) He thinks 
Paul calls his sufferings Christ s sufferings, because they were similar to them in the 
point that Paul was persecuted by the Jews even as Christ was. " And," says Schleier- 
macher, "Paul did suffer for the church, inasmuch as he by his activity among the 
Gentiles first established the kingdom of God properly." I doubt whether this interpre 
tation of the great theologian will be found satisfactory. 

COLOSSIANS I. 24. 193 

words must also, like Bohmer s, be called grammatically possible. 
But we cannot decide whether one of these possible interpretations 
is applicable here, till we have considered also the other side, the 
explanation of the genitive rov Xpiorov as genitivus subjecti. Now 
as taken subjectively, it refers most naturally to the sufferings of Jesus 
on earth, to his agony in Gethsemane and his death on Golgotha. 
That this explanation is possible, the collation of 2 Cor. i. 5 shews 
(see the remarks on it in the Comm.), although to me it is pro 
bable that, with this idea the apostle would have written OXtyeis 
ITJGOV or Irjaov Xpiarov. But apart from this, the sentiment that 
something was wanting in the sufferings of Christ, which were 
vicarious and reconciling for the whole human race, and that Paul 
by his sufferings supplies that deficiency, is so completely repug 
nant to the whole Scripture doctrine, and especially to Paul s sys 
tem, that its adoption would place the author in the grossest 
contradiction with himself. For the fancy that Paul points here to 
eertain outward forms of suffering which Jesus did not undergo and 
he himself supplied, e. g., imprisonment, needs only to be known in 
order to refute itself. Tov Xptaroi) can be understood subjectively of 
the mystical Christ alone, i. e., Christ as filling the church with his 
life and being. This interpretation has been received by Luther, 
Melancthon, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, J. D. Michaelis, besides several 
Greek and Latin Fathers (Augustine, Chrysostom, and others), and 
in the latest times by Steiger and Ba hr, and we also decide in fa 
vour of it. For, if the interpretations "sufferings on account of 
Christ," or "sufferings imposed by Christ," are grammatically pos 
sible, still they recommend themselves the less that elsewhere too, 
according to the representation of the Scriptures, Christ is set forth 
as suffering in believers (according to the term of the dogmatists 
g } in opposition to the suffering of Christ in his corporeity, 
, and the emphatic way in which Paul here expresses 
himself as to his sufferings, makes us expect more than the bald idea 
of an outward suffering for the sake of Christ and of labour in his 
gospel, in which idea the indwelling of Christ, which Paul always 
puts in the foreground, is entirely ignored. Such passages are Acts 
ix. 4, 5 (where the persecutions of believers are represented as a per 
secution of Christ himself) ; 2 Cor. i. 5 (on which, however, compare 
the Comm.); Phil. iii. 10 (where the power of his [Christ s] resur 
rection and the fellowship of his sufferings is not to be understood 
of an outward uniformity, but of an inward essential community 
through the indwelling of Christ, as also Horn. vi. 5, 8, 17 ; 2 Tim. 
ii. 10-12 ; J Pet. iv. 13); Heb.xi. 26 (where 6 dveidiapbg -ov Xpicrov 
cannot be merely " reproach propter Christum" but the reproach 
which Moses, as the real type of Christ, through his spirit working 
in him, bore) ; Rev. i. 9, where John calls himself jwyaotvwvdf iv ry 
VOL. V. 13 

194 COLOSSIANS I. 24. 

OXtyei Kal fiamkeia not vnonovy lyaov Xptarov, which, expresses more 
than a mere outward similarity and communion. From this refer 
ence of the afflictions of Christ to the Christ in us, it follows natu 
rally how their varepTJfiara are to be taken. (See 1 Thess. iii. 10 ; 
Phil. ii. 30.) The church of Christ, which had suffered much from. 
the very beginning, is to endure more suffering still by God s dis 
pensation : a certain measure of suffering is allotted her, which must 
be filled up ; Paul supplies that deficiency on his part by his suffer 
ings in the flesh. Ev -^ capni^ in the flcsli, embraces not merely 
proper bodily suffering, but also the sufferings of the soul, in short, 
all those conflicts which (ii. 1, seq.) the apostle had to withstand, in 
consequence of the sin in the world, and which the Christ in him 
bore jointly as his sufferings. 

Nest in order is the term dvravarrXrjpovv, which we are now pre 
pared to interpret. This double compound is not found again in the 
New Testament ; it also occurs but rarely in classical language, 
though by no means entirely wanting. (See Wetstein ad h. 1.) 
We must certainly adhere to the principle of maintaining so far as 
possible the force of the preposition in compound verbs. First, then, 
avTavanhripovv must signify not merely cxplere, but vicissim explere, 
" to fill up something as equivalent for something else." This mean 
ing would here admit of being so applied that the apostle s sufferings 
would be brought into comparison with the sufferings of Christ ; as 
the Lord suffered for men, so too the church in return suffers for 
him, and Paul thus fills up what is wanting in the sufferings of the 
church in return. So Bohmer, Ba hr, Tittman (de synonymis Novi 
Testamenti, p. 230), and others, take it. If with Bohmer we trans 
late 0An/>etf rov Xoiarov "sufferings for Christ s sake," we have cer 
tainly good reason to lay such stress on the dvri, but not, if we take 
the phrase, as must be done, " sufferings of Christ, i. e., of the mys 
tical Christ in the church." Ba hr, who decides for this also, had 
therefore no occasion to lay a stress on the meaning of dv-i. For 
the conception of requital can be adhered to only when men are con 
ceived as contrasted with the person of Jesus ; but here they are not 
considered as contrasted with Jesus, but as filled with the life of 
Christ himself, so that he suffers in them. The context therefore 
requires us to decide that Paul after his manner uses a doubly com 
pound verb here, without laying a special emphasis on the preposi 
tion dvri. The meaning of the words is only this : " now rejoice I 
in the sufferings for you (viz., because I know the gospel victorious 
in the whole world), and fill up in my flesh that which is yet want 
ing in Christ s sufferings for his body, i. e., the church." But here, 
under our interpretation, another difficulty arises from the VTTKO rov 
rog avrov } for his body. It manifestly defines more accurately 
; Paul suffers not merely for the one church in Colossee ; he 

COLOSSIANS I. 24. 195 

names that one for the whole church. In accordance with her 
organic unity, she increases all together when a part increases, and 
suffers all together when a part suffers. (See at 1 Cor. xii. 26.) For 
the rest, it cannot be doubtful that vrnp is to be taken here in the 
sense "for the good of," and not with Steiger in that of " instead, 
in lieu of." For Paul is himself a member of the church ; he can 
not therefore possibly mean to say that he suffers instead of the 
church, as a substitute for her. Christ alone can be vicarious, as 
he is not an individual member of the church, but is potentially the 
church herself. But a difficulty is involved in the circumstance that 
Paul designates his sufferings after the indwelling of Christ in him 
as sufferings of Christ, and yet afterwards represents them as ad 
vantageous to the church, i. e., the mystical Christ (1 Cor. xii. 
12); for, according to this, Christ seems to suffer for Christ, the 
church for the church. But this difficulty is thus removed : as the 
suffering of Jesus served for the salvation of mankind, but perfected 
himself also (Heb. ii. 10), so too the suffering of the individual be 
liever advances him and the church of which he is a member. For 
the church in the mass, though a living, single organism, the body 
of Christ, is yet divided into more active and more passive, into 
advanced members and members requiring advancement. To the 
former Paul of course belonged ; he could therefore justly rep 
resent his sufferings, i. e., the sufferings of the Christ in him, as 
a means of advancing those members of the church who especially 
required increase, and their advancement was then an advancement 
of the whole church, from the connexion of every member with the 
whole body. 

But the idea itself, the advancement of the individual and 
thereby of the whole too through suffering, still needs a closer con 
sideration ; for it might seem to involve the principle of a false as 
ceticism. Nevertheless, we read in 1 Pet. iv. 1 the open declaration, 
" he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin" (6 -vaduv h 
oapKi TTKTravTcti dfiapTia^). False asceticism is, however, completely 
excluded by the mere fact, that the question here is not of self- 
chosen, wilfully invented and imposed sufferings, but of such as God 
imposes, and indeed, as we have already remarked, not merely of 
physical sufferings, but also of sufferings of the soul, in short, of all 
that which befalls human nature, weighing it down in its weakness 
(the <rap|). That such sufferings tend to advance men in sanctilica- 
tion, that they exercise them in patience, meekness, and resignation, 
is abundantly clear. There is no question here of a vicarious, sin- 
forgiving efficacy of sufferings (Jesus alone h;is by his once- per 
formed sacrifice established reconciliation with God and forgiveness 
of sins); but only of advancement in sanctification by sufferings. 
Forgiveness of sins the church has already, otherwise she could not 

196 COLOSSIANS I. 24. 

be called the body of Christ ; but she is also from this to increase in 
the new life, and sufferings are in God s hand a means of advance 
ment in that. But they evince themselves as such only when they 
are taken in the right spirit (met with resistance and bitterness, suf 
ferings do not profit, but rather injure, the inward life); the com 
pletely right mind which is well-pleasing to God can be given by 
regeneration only, in which Christ takes up his abode with us ; 
wherefore Paul speaks not of his sufferings merely, but of the suf 
ferings of Christ in him. But, as everything in the development of 
mankind has its measure and its order, so too has the way of per 
fection through sufferings ; wherefore Paul represents his suffering 
as a complement of the joint suffering, which, according to God s 
dispensation, humanity will have to bear. By this manner of taking 
the difficult passages their contents are clearly in perfect harmony 
with the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures in general and of Paul in 
particular. But tne doctrine that Christ suffers in the faithful, 
though not vicariously and reconcilingly, but merely as sanctifying 
and pefecting, has its difficulty. For one would think the old man 
was the suffering one in the faithful, that, on the contrary, the new 
man, the Christ in us, was even in all sufferings in heavenly joy. 
No doubt the old man suffers too ; but he suffers what his deeds 
deserve ; his suffering is the punishment of sin, and has no profiting, 
sanctifying power, but one that destroys him (Col. iii. 5). But here 
such sufferings are spoken of as can be a means of advancement to 
the individual and the whole ; these are sufferings of Christ in us, 
because they refer to sin as such, not merely to its consequences and 
their disagreeableness. Christ suffering is a type not merely of the 
whole church, but of entire humanity ; and not barely an outward 
empty type, but a living substantial one, in that Christ, as the eter 
nal Word of God, has filled and borne up humanity in its true 
members with his power from of old, suffers in them, overcomes in 
them, and by victory tempers and perfects them.* Thus Moses 
even bore the reproach of Christ (Heb. xi. 26), and took it upon 
him willingly in the knowledge of the blessing which is in it. Thus 
even in the prophets of the Old Testament the Spirit of Christ 
worked and testified to them of the sufferings which are in Christ, 
and the glory which should follow (1 Pet. 11), i. e., not merely the 
sufferings of the historical person Jesus, but of the entire holy 
church, the substantial type of which he is ; thus the prophet 
Isaiah (chap, liii.) already describes the suffering of the saints and 

* However, the difference between the Old and the New Testaments still remains, 
this, that in the Old the Diviiie essence is present only substantially in man, not personally 
and forming a person, as in the New; and that, therefore, it is only in the latter that 
there can be any question of a new birth, which supposes the personifying form of the 
Divine energy, a form which creates a higher consciousness. 

COLOSSIAKS I. 25, 26. 197 

the suffering of the Messiah as coinciding in their fundamental fea 
tures. Christ is the suffering God in the history of the world. In 
the sinful world he has suffered in all the pious from the earliest times, 
and through sympathetic indwelling he constantly transforms the 
curse of sin into blessing, on which account too, according to Scrip 
ture, no one is saved without suffering (2 Tim. iii. 12) ; in Christ 
pain and suffering are sanctified, his cross is the royal road to salva 
tion for all. In the person of Jesus suffering was vicarious and re 
conciling; in the times before Christ it prepared for his appearance ; 
in the times after Christ it operates by sanctifying and perfecting. 
For the rest, it is quite clear that the idea of God s joint suffering in 
sanctified humanity cannot becloud the idea of God in its purity, 
therefore must not be taken so as to derogate from the perfect, eter 
nal blessedness (1 Tim. i. 11, vi. 15) of God. As God is present in 
the creature in every moment of its development, without by that 
means himself becoming subject to the limits of time and space ; so 
too he is present in the suffering creature, without feeling its suffer 
ing as suffering. The joint suffering of God must therefore be 
considered as only the form of the presence and operation of compas 
sionate Divine love in the suffering creation. 

Vers. 25, 26. As already remarked at the beginning of the ex 
planation of verse 24, Paul here begins a digression^ in which he de 
scribes his relation to the church ; his suffering and conflict are not 
further pursued till ii. 1, seq. Paul treats (it is to be presumed in 
opposition to the theosophical Judaists in Colossae, who cast sus 
picion on his apostolical authority, even if they did not exactly im 
pugn it) of how he was called to the ministry of the church, and 
that too among the Gentiles (e/? vpac), according to God s dispensa 
tion, in order to spread abroad on all sides the mystery so long hidden, 
but now made manifest. See Eph. iii. 7. (As to olicovopta see on 
Eph. iii. 2. On the phrase TrXqptiaat, rbv Xoyov rov Qeov see at Rom. 
xv. 19. It is to be interpreted : " to proclaim the Word of God 
completely in its whole meaning and extent." [See also Tholuck s 
Interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 135, seq.] Ver. 26. 
See on uva-ripiov TO aTrwe/ept j^aevov drcb r&v aluvuv, the remarks on 
Eph. iii. 18. It stands here as an epexegesis of r6v koyov rov Qeov. 
On the juxtaposition of yeved and aluv see at Eph. iii. 21. The 
vwl de tyavepuOri, which is subjoined by anacoluthon, has given occa 
sion to alterations in the MSS. Some of minor importance read 
b vtv tyavepwQi] outright, which openly betrays itself as a correction, 
and D.E. have the reading vwl Se ^avepuOev, which certainly, however 
intrinsically excellent, can yet make no claim to reception into the 
text, because it is extremely probable that it too arose from the altera 
tion of the copyists. Before dyioi$ avrov F.G. read dnoarohoic, which, 
it is to be supposed, was taken into the text here from Eph. iii. 5. 

198 COLOSSIANS I. 27-29. 

But, considering the close affinity of the two epistles, it would seem 
that we must assume that the gloss is correct as to the sense, and 
that by " saints" the apostles are to be understood, only, however, 
as representatives of the entire body of the faithful.) 

Ver. 27. The reason of making known the mystery to the apos 
tles does not consist in their worthiness, but in God s will (Eph. i. 
9) ; this ?}6KXr]aev 6 Qeog points then to the necessity of reverencing 
that will of God, and of recognizing the apostles as those from 
whom the pure gospel is to proceed. The glory of the gospel is then 
exalted in the words, T I ~o TrXovrog TT/? 6%r\$ rov fivarrjpiov TOVTOU, to 
which Eph. i. 18 (on which see the Comm.) corresponds. (The 
neuter form TO TTAOVTO$ is to be preferred here too with Lachmann 
after A.C. The genitive rrjg 66^ is not to be taken adjectively, but 
to be considered as defining the nature of the heavenly mystery, and 
making its glory an independent attribute.) As to the rest, it is 
clear by the addition of iv rolg ZOveaiv to pvo-ipiov TOVTOV } that 
neither " the mystery" in itself alone, nor even the " Word of God" 
(verse 26), denotes the diffusion of the gospel among the Gentiles, 
otherwise the addition would be superfluous ; the mystery is rather 
the gospel as such, in the manifestation of the infinite compassion 
of God in Christ. The riches of the glory of the gospel manifested 
themselves most brilliantly in its operation among the Gentiles only 
because it appeared among them in the sharpest contrast with the 
deepest shades. In the last words of the verse Christ himself is at 
length designated as the mystery of redemption. For in the gospel 
Christ is everything living ; in it there is not preached a mere doc 
trine about Christ, but he himself, the living, personal Christ, the 
eternal Word of the Father, is himself doctrine and teacher in one. 
The Colossians had already recognized him as such. He was not 
merely outwardly preached among them he had made his abode in 
their hearts, as it is said Eph. iii. 17 : Xpiorbg did rijs -iarsug KaroiKel 
kv ralg Kapdiaig vp&v. (A.F.G. have 5 t-<m Xpiarog, which Lachmann 
has also adopted, but probably that is only a correction for og } which 
is to be explained by attraction to the Xpiarog following. See 
Winer s Gr. 24, 3, 481, 8.) But it seems striking that the Christ 
in us is designated as the hope of glory (tAm? rrjg dofyg, scil. jueAAovaT/f); 
it might seem where Christ lives in the heart there is already the 
kingdom of God and all its glory subsisting. In the germ, no doubt; 
but the inward Divine life yearns also for a completely homogene 
ous outward state, and this makes its victorious entry only at the 
close of the development. The Christ in us is therefore the living 
hope of the glorious future, inasmuch as he bears in himself the 
energy to realize it and with that the pledge of it. 

Vers. 28, 29. This Christ, then, who is the mystery itself, the 
apostles announce (1 Cor. ii. 2), and indeed preach him to the hu- 


man race as such, without regarding the theocratical distinctions. The 
thrice repeated travra dvOpuTrov, every man, has, as already remarked 
on i. 6, a manifest polemical character as a defence of the universal 
ity of Paul s doctrine against the Jewish one-sidcdness of the Colos- 
sian false teachers. NovOereiv points rather to the practical phase 
of instruction ; diddoKstv to the intellectual. (On KV ndoy aofaa see 
at Eph. i. 8.) Its object is the reXetov KV Xptcrrw TrapaoTrjoai. (Com 
pare ver. 22.) The definition " perfect in Christ" is to be explained, 
" perfect in communion with him through his life which is imparted 
to us." The perfection of the believer is none of his own, separate, 
beside God and Christ, but Christ s perfection is his in faith. (See 
at Matth. v. 48.) As this is the universal task of all teachers of the 
church to form all unto perfection in Christ, so Paul declares of him 
self also that he strives to guide his disciples thither. But it is not 
in his own strength that he struggles for that exalted aim, but ac 
cording to the power of Christ which worketh in him. (See on Kara 
-rjv tvepyeiav at ver. 14.) But the conflict, the magnitude of which 
Paul mentions on this occasion, refers, as Stciger justly observes on 
this passage, not merely to outward enemies and obstacles, but 
especially to the inward power of darkness which strives against the 
consequences of light. (See on ii. 1.) J. D. Michaelis referred KV 
6vvdjj,i to miraculous gifts. In fact these cannot be conceived as 
excluded in the mention of the power working in Paul, but just as 
little are they alone, or even only particularly, insisted on in it ; KV 
dvvdfiei, is an adverbial addition to b>tpyav\ihrr\v i and comprises in one 
word all the outward and inward manifestations of power of the 
Spirit of Christ filling Paul. It is, secondly, intimated at the same 
time in this description of his working that it is not without success, 
but overcomes the world ; consequently the opposition also proceed 
ing from the false teachers who were active in Colossa3 against him. 
Chap. ii. 1. Paul describes in the following verses the greatness 
of his conflict, especially for the Christians in Colossaa and Laodicea, 
and all whom he could not instruct personally. Paul with this 
again takes up perfectly the idea of ver. 24 ; for dy&v nepl vptiv coin 
cides with Tradrj/j-aoi vTrep vptiv. The conflict on behalf of the Christ 
ians there was, along with other grievous circumstances, a real suf 
fering on the part of Paul for them, as the temptations which the 
heretics there prepared for them sorely grieved his heart, but at the 
same time also incited the faithful apostle to the most ardent con 
flict in prayer for them. That, finally, Paul here designates the 
Christians in Colossae and Laodicea as those who did not know him 
personally, and therefore had received no instruction from him, is 
convincingly shewn by Steiger and Bohmer (in the first Appendix 
to his Commentary, p. 411, seq.) But why does Paul add ical oaoi 
ov% Kuon.Kav } K. r. A. ? It would seem that his conflict for those who 


knew him personally would necessarily be more painful than for 
those not known to him, as he must have had more at heart their 
welfare ; but the words of this passage give the impression that the 
magnitude of the conflict is determined by the absence of personal 
acquaintance. No doubt it is so, and indeed this idea is explained 
by the fact that Paul is the more solicitous for those unknown to 
him the less it has been possible for him to labour in person for 
their life in the faith, and to convince himself of their established 
state. The weaker children require the most faithful care and the 
most earnest prayers. (The addition nal ~&v iv lepa/rd/la is derived 
from iv. 13, and is spurious here. On the other hand, the form 
tupaitav is to be preferred with Lachmann after A.B.D. as the more 
rare. UpdawTrov KV aapni puts the bodily countenance in opposition 
to the spiritual physiognomy ; the latter the Colossians knew well, 
but the bodily appearance of Paul was unknown to them.) 

Ver. 2. The aim of Paul s conflict is the advancement of the 
faithful. This is expressed in the words, iva TTapaKXr)dot,v at itapdiai 
avrtiv. The idea of consoling does not suit -napanaXdv here, because 
there is no question of any grief or any persecutions of the readers 
of the epistle. Nor does the term napdia allow us to take napaKahdv 
in the meaning, " to exhort, to instruct." The heart can, indeed, 
as the organ of feeling, be comforted, but not exhorted or instructed. 
FLapaitaAeiv is therefore, with Bohmer and Flatt, to be taken here in 
the meaning, "to confirm, strengthen," after the analogy of the 
Hebrew P.vft (Deut. iii. 28, Isaiah xxxv. 3, Job iv. 3), which, how 
ever, is not applicable at 2 Thess. ii. 17 also, as Bohmer will have 
it to be. TlapaKakelv is to be so taken only per melonymiam, the 
cause being put for the effect. Exhortation, where it bears fruit, 
has a strengthening, heart-establishing influence, and in that rela 
tion the context here requires the term -napaaa^uv to be taken. It 
was not unnatural in what follows to alter the reading ovfj,(3i(3aa- 
Oev-ts, which is certainly the original one, into ovp{3i(3aoOt;vTuv } as 
*he text. rec. reads, in order -to make the construction more uni 
form. The MSS. A.B.C.D.E. and other authorities defend the more 
difficult ai!fi0ij3aaOsvTt.s. (See as to such anacolutha Winer s G-r. 
63, 2.) We have already had the term in the same significa 
tion at Eph. iv. 16. At its foundation is the figure which compares 
the church of Christ to a body. Love is that in which the indi 
vidual members are joined and combined into unity. Of course this 
oviifiifiaodrjvai. iv dyd-ny also is to be conceived as dependent on what 
precedes. The aim of Paul s conflict is to make his readers firm 
(against all corruption of them by means of false doctrine), and to 
unite them in Iove 3 with the victory over all controversies and di 
visions. Finally, the exalted insight into the mystery of God is 
brought forward as the consummation of this union in love, with 


which afterwards security against being led astray is given by Christ 
as the only possessor of all true wisdom. But nai before etc: rcav is 
perplexing ; it is either to be explained by the omission of a verb, 
perhaps ZWuat, or to be taken in prosgnanti sensu as et quidem, for 
which Bohmer decides. (Compare Matth. xxiii. 13 ; 1 Cor. iii. 5 ; Heb. 
x. 25.) The ovveaig is here more accurately defined in its riches by 
the addition rr/trjpofiopia (see on Trkrjpo^opeloOai at Rom. iv. 21, xiv. 5), 
by which the insight is characterized as not a mere outward one, 
dependent on the intellect, but internal, resting on the testimony 
of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit testifieth to the truth by his pres 
ence (1 John v. 6) and effects thereby a Divine n^po^opia. To the 
idea of avveaig (see at Eph. i. 8) rcav TO trXovros answers well, be 
cause the understanding conceives in itself the manifold charac 
ter of the concrete. Emyvuaig, on the contrary, is the knowledge 
through the reason which gathers every individual thing into unity. 
Paul, therefore, could not write nai emyvuaeug, so that this genitive 
also should be dependent on n^ovrog. (See at i. 9.) Eniyvuatg ap 
pears here as a higher grade of knowledge than ovvecig. True, knowl 
edge precedes the cultivation of the understanding in the individual, 
but, by means of the latter, knowledge is also raised to a more per 
fect degree of depth and spirituality. At the end of ver. 2 a num 
ber of various readings are found. A.C. .read rov Qeov Trarpbg rov 
Xpiorov, D. reads rov Qeov o tan Xpiarog, B. TOV Qeov Xpiarov, the 
text. rec. rov QEOV not narooq KOI rov Xoiarov. Most of the modern 
critics and interpreters, especially Lachmann, Bohmer, Steiger, and 
others, decide for the reading Qeov Xpiarov. Steiger tries to set forth 
in detail how from that reading all the rest arose, partly by mere 
interpolations, partly through interpretation. But I cannot convince 
myself of the correctness of that assumption ; I rather believe rov 
Qeov only is the original reading, as Griesbach and Ba hr likewise 
suppose, and my arguments are the following. It is inconceivable 
that Paul should have written Qeov Xpiarov, which also never occurs 
elsewhere ; for the words may mean, 1, " of the God of Christ" (but 
in that case Paul always puts the plena locutio 6 Qebg rov Kvpiov 
rifi&v lr]aov Xpiarov, as Eph. i. 17); or 2, Qeov, Xptorov, i. e., "of 
God, which here means Christ ;" or lastly, as the advocates for this 
reading will have it, " of Christ, who is God." The possibility of 
this last construction is, however, undoubtedly to be denied ; Paul 
would have expressed the idea by Xpiarov, Qeov. The two others, 
as is confessed, do not suit the context ; it appears, therefore, the 
simplest way to view Xoiarov as a gloss of the copyists, and the 
reading o ian Xpioros, which stands parallel with it, plainly shews 
that it is nothing else. But they came to that gloss quite naturally 
as follows : in ver. 27 of chap. i. Christ himself was designated as 
the mystery ; now, as it was thought necessary in ver. 3 of chap. ii. 

202 COLOSSIANS II. 3-5. 

to unite the iv o> to the last subject Qs6^ } it seemed also necessary 
in this passage that Qeog should be Christ, not the Father ; for 
which reason the explanatory Xpiorog was added. But if Oeov Xpia- 
rov was once written, this unheard-of juxtaposition could not fail to 
give rise to the most various readings intended to facilitate the un 
derstanding of the passage. 

Ver. 3. But the connexion of iv w with Qeog here is by no means 
to be recommended, because Qeog is not the principal substantive, 
but only defines more accurately the principal term \ivorr\pnjv ; the 
latter forms, from i. 25, the centre of the argumentation. In fact, it 
again coincides, it is true, with the other construction ; for God in 
Christ is himself his mystery (i. 27), the mystery in which all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, i. e., of both practical and theo 
retical knowledge, are hidden. That mystery is no abstract doctrine 
separated from its author, no dogmatical formula, but the living 
God himself, who in Christ entered into humanity ; without knowl 
edge of God, therefore, there is neither knowledge of this mystery 
nor eternal life (Matth. xi. 27 ; John xvii. 3). Consequently, in 
him alone are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge to be 
sought, not, as the heretics in Colossse insisted, in all sorts of sham 
wisdom, apart from Christ. But in the phrase " in whom are all 
the treasures hidden" (zv w dot- Trdv-eg ol 6i]aavpol aTrorcpvfioi) it is 
not intimated that they, as being absolutely hidden, can and may 
never be (taken up Paul in ver. 2 uttered the hope that they might 
come to the knowledge of the mystery, and, with it, of its purport, 
i. e., of its treasures), but that human strength is not sufficient for 
it, that, in one word, no one knows God but he to whom he mani 
fests himself (Matth. xi. 27). God veils himself to the prudent and 
wise of this world, whose wisdom is in themselves, and proceeds from 
themselves alone ; they know nothing of him, their knowledge is 
mere show ; God reveals himself only to " babes and sucklings" and 
to the humble, by imparting himself to them as their portion. For 
the rest, this passage sufficiently refutes all those dreamers and 
fanatics, who thought they were bound to expect a still higher and 
more comprehensive revelation of God than that in Christ ; viz., an 
age of the Holy Ghost. All that the Holy Ghost reveals he takes 
from that which is Christ s (John xvi. 15) ; in him are all the treas 
ures of wisdom and of knowledge. (From the context of vers. 3 and 
2 yv^ac; here can be nothing else than eniyvuaig as in ver. 2, which 
testifies against the asserted difference between the two expressions. 
See at i. 9.) 

Vers. 4, 5. Paul now applies the preceding general exhortation 
to the special circumstances of his readers. Its object is to warn 
them against the deceitful discourses of the false teachers. This in 
terest in the welfare of the absent he bases on the spiritual union in 

COLOSSIANS II. 6, 7. 203 

which lie knows himself to he with them, his readers, and which en 
ables him with joy to perceive the firmness of their state of faith. 
(llapttAoyi CeaOat is not found again in the New Testament, except at 
James i. 22, as here, in the sense, " to deceive by false conclusions 
[paralogisms]/ The choice of the term is to be explained by the 
form of arguing which the false teachers made use of lor their views. 
JliQavohoyia is found only here. In 1 Cor. ii. 4 kv -eiOolg oofaag Aoyotf 
stands for it. The term has here a subordinate idea of blame ; it 
designates a striving not to convince by the force of truth, but to 
persuade by the show of it. Ver. 5. Comp. the parallel 1 Cor. v. 3 
to the antithesis here : aapul drreipi Trvevpart avv vplv el/M. Tlvevfta 
is, of course, not the Holy Ghost, but forms here the antithesis with 
aapf ; " outwardly far, I am yet inwardly near you, and take part in 
your welfare." The collocation xaipuv nal fiXs-rruv is strange ; j3/U- 
TTWV would seem necessarily to come first. Schott and Biihr take it 
as a Hendiadys : Icetabundus observans, or cum gaudio considerans. 
But Winer [Or. 54, 5] and Bohmer justly remarked that it is 
simpler to take Kai in the meaning of scilicet, by which means the 
not (HiKTTwv, K. r. A., receives the character of an epexegetic addition : 
" in the spirit I am with you in joy, viz., inasmuch as in the spirit I 
see your firm attitude." Td$ig is taken from the frequently recurring 
metaphor of military service, " the compact order of the warriors, 
which attests their ability for fighting out the combat well." The 
arfptWjtta TIJ elg ~KQLOTOV rrtarewf vfj,(Zv } which follows, and in which 
faith is described as the power which strengthens them in their posi 
tion for the fight, explains rdgig. The reading vareprj^a has arisen 
merely from the circumstance, that from what follows [ver. 20. seq.] 
it seemed not well possible to predicate firmness in the faith of the 
Colossians. But Paul praises their firmness, in order to shew what 
he expects of them. As to the rest, neither need ver. 20, seq., be 
understood as if the Colossians had already given themselves up to 
the false teachers ; the question is there rather an oratorical figure. 
[See the explanation at that passage.] Srepeco/za is not found again 
in the New Testament ; the LXX. use it for s^, Gen. i. 6 ; how 
ever, the verb occurs Acts xvi. 5.) 

Vers. 6, 7. With reference to the instruction received (from 
Epaphras, chap. i. ver. 7), Paul then exhorts them to remain faith 
ful to it. But Christian instruction, as at Eph. iv. 20 (on which com 
pare the Coinm.), is not represented as a mere reception of a doc 
trine of and regarding Christ, but as an actual reception of himself, in 
that really a higher living principle fills the faithful by the commu 
nication of the Holy Ghost ; in him (Christ) they are to walk, in 
him be firmly rooted and built up. But Christ is here emphatically 
designated as the Lord, in order to render manifest the necessity of 
letting him rule. (On t-ppj^u/itVot and i-otKodonovpevoi see Eph. in. 


18, ii. 20, 22. As shewn by tv avrw, Christ is not in 
conceived as the foundation and foundation-stone, on which the 
faithful are built up, but as the element that fills the whole build 
ing, as the life-giving breath. The metaphor is rather to be taker, 
thus : the building is begun ; the foundation has been laid by the 
apostles and prophets [Eph. ii. 20] ; all now are built up on that 
foundation through being and living in Christ. Christ is the author 
and finisher of the faith [Heb. xii. 2]. In the words Pepaiovpevoi iv 
T?^ 7Tia~ei na6u$ ldtddxd7]Te } Triang cannot be understood of the sub 
jective TTtcTig, but of the objective one, of the fides quce creditur, of 
the doctrine of faith. In the latter we may be instructed and es 
tablish ourselves in accordance with the instruction that we have re 
ceived. Paul means therefore that the Colossians are to adhere to 
the doctrine of Epaphras, which he confirms as true, and not suffer 
themselves to be led away from it through the deceits of the here 
tics. [The opposite to /3e[3atovodai is nXvduvi&odai, Eph. iv. 14.] 
But they are not merely to adhere to that faith, but also to in 
crease in it [Iv avrq, scil. irtaret], and that too with thanksgiving, 
consequently with thankful hearts, for God s grace given them 
through the 1 communication of the pure truth. As to the rest, KV 
avry is wanting in A.C., and D.E. read iv ai>ru>, but the omission and 
alteration are too easily explained for any stress to be laid on those 
various readings.) 

Ver. 8. The apostle, upon this, pronounces an open warning 
against false philosophy, as the Colossian false teachers dissemina 
ted it ; a warning, however, which is not, before ver. 16, again re 
sumed and carried out more in detail, as in vers. 9-15 the idea 
that we must not depart from Christ, as in him everything needful 
unto salvation is given, is carried out. The destructive element, 
which Paul warns against, is called 77 fyLkoaofyia. But that, according 
to Paul s intention, not every philosophy, not every striving after 
an insight into and a knowledge of the truth, is meant here to be 
rejected, and a blind uneducated faith recommended, is partly clear 
already from the doctrine of Paul in general, in which there plainly 
manifests itself a striving after knowledge, and the endeavour to 
reconcile faith and knowledge, and thus Christian philosophy and 
science is expressly recommended, nay, is set up as the aim of the 
development of the church (compare the remarks in the Comm. 
on Eph. iv. 13); partly from the addition nal Kevr^ d-rrdnig. For 
the absence of the article shews that this is not meant to be a 
second and different point, by the side of philosophy ; it also lies in 
the nature of the case that such discordant things as philosophy 
and vain deceit cannot be placed side by side, if the term " vain de 
ceit" were meant to designate generally every form of empty delusion. 
A<d rfjg fakoooQiag not Kevrjg a-nd-t]^ rather forms one joint idea, and 


that too so that the empty deceit must be taken as manifesting it 
self precisely in philosophy. Empty, deceptive philosophy, there 
fore, presupposes another genuine one as acknowledged. The former 
isi-here the self-styled, fictitious " wisdom," which the false teachers 
ifl^Colossaa extolled, pretending to possess (verse 18) knowledge of a 
peculiar kind as to the realm of spirits, while they were in fact 
blind in Divine things ; only such false wisdom (the i^evduvvnog 
yvaJOTc of 1 Tim. vi. 20, which does not deserve the noble name of 
knowledge) is meant to be blamed, not the true. That false wis 
dom receives from Paul for a more accurate definition the predicate, 
Kara rijv Trapddoaiv r&v dvOpunuv^ after the tradition of men. But 
still every human endeavour to find the truth, manifesting itself in 
following the traditions of a school, seems to be blamed here, and 
revelation alone, which is not man s at all, but God s only, seems to 
be represented as the rightful source ; for, as, after this, KOO^IO^ and 
Xpia-og are opposed to one another, so here Qeoq forms the tacit con 
trast to dvOpwog. No doubt ; but human philosophy is only 
blamed in so far as it sets itself on a par with, or in opposition to, 
the revelation of God. Where the question is not of revelation, 
e. g., as among the Greeks before Christ, there Paul would not blame 
a (f)i^oao(f)ia Kara ri]v TrapdSomv r&v dvOpu-rruv as such. But certainly 
ivitliin the domain of revelation no human wisdom can or dare claim 
authority along with, much less against, the Divine wisdom ; philo 
sophy must always be Kara Xpiorov, i, e., be in harmony with the 
truth manifested by and in him, if it would pretend to the name 
of a Christian philosophy. Christ, who is personal truth itself, can 
also alone be the truth of philosophy. As to the rest, Paul shews 
by the term Trapddoat^ that these false teachers had not invented their 
views themselves, but received them in the way of tradition.* This 
favours the view expressed in the Introduction, that the Colossian 
false teachers sought to amalgamate the Cabbalistic tenets, which 
were already in existence, and which had come down to them in the 
way of tradition, with Christianity. The name 0iAoao0ta can be no 
argument against our supposing Jewish wisdom to be here meant, 
for the Jewish inquirers also were called philosophers, not only by the 
Platonizing Philo, but also by the Pharisee Josephus. Certainly 
Bahr is right in maintaining against Tittmann that (ptXoaofiia cannot 
mean merely knowledge of the Jewish law, much less, as Heinrichs 
insists, " religious worship according to the law ;" but all unusually 
profound inquiry into religious matters Josephus calls philosophy. 
Thus by him the sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes 
are called philosophers (B. J. ii. 12, 1). The correctness of this de 
claration that " the deceptive philosophy" here denotes the Gnostic- 

* It is not improbable that in the term irapdSoaif an allusion to the name 
tradition is contained 


Cabbalistic system of the false teachers, which they knew how to 
present in a very plausible way (KV niQavo koyia, verse 5), is further 
confirmed in what follows by the phrase /car a ra aroL%ela rov Koafiov, 
after the elements of the world. We have already at G-al. iv. 3 
made acquaintance with the same phrase, which is explained ib. iv. 
9 by aadevri KOL Trrw^a oroi^eta, weak and beggarly elements. This 
phrase, too, points to the Old Testament, and therefore is in favour 
of the Judaistic character of the false teachers. The name a-ot^ela 
alone would contain no reproach ; it is only the Old Testament 
that is characterized by it as containing the elements of religious 
life, whereas in Christ the rekog of the law, the rsXeidrrjg^ is contained. 
But the addition rov KOO/J-OV involves the blame ; for Paul does not 
mean to blame the Old Testament in itself, but that spiritless, ex 
ternal, literal manner in which the false teachers understood it. 
Instead of considering it as actually fulfilled in Christ in its spirit, 
they endeavoured faithfully to adhere to it outwardly in the letter. 
Thus they degraded the Word of God to a mere form of the world, 
to beggarly elements. (See the particulars on the aroixela rov noa/iov 
at G-al. iv. 3.) The assumption, that elements of Gentile wisdom 
are also to be understood by the " elements of the world," is here, 
as at Gal. iv. 3, not demonstrable. Verses 16, 17 pronounce too 
decidedly for the purely Jewish character of the Colossian false 
teachers for any one to be able to feel himself justified in supposing 
any Gentile elements in their system. Even though the Cabbalists 
might originally have received their impulse from Persian and Chal 
dean ideas, yet their system had long so entirely passed over into 
the Jewish life and character, that Paul could have no motive still 
to distinguish in it the originally Gentile ideas from the Jewish 
ones. (BAtTrere \ir\ with an indicative following expresses the convic 
tion that what the warning is given against might actually take 
place. The article with the participle ffvAaywywv denotes a definitely 
conceived personality [see Winer s Gr., 18, 3, p. 100]; it is sup- 
posable that that perverse tendency in Colossas originated with some 
definite individual whom Paul had in his thoughts here. ZvAayw- 
yeZv, from avXi], booty, is only found here. One need not imagine, as 
the object, faith, or anything of the kind, in the Colossian Christians ; 
it is they themselves who are meant to be caught by the false teachers. 
In 2 Tim. iii. 6, a%/aAam w is used in the same combination.) 

Ver. 9. That Paul here, immediately upon naming the name of 
Christ, allows himself to be drawn back to the majesty of the person 
of Christ, of which he had in i. 15, seq., already so copiously treated, 
plainly shews that the error of the false teachers as to the person of 
Christ appeared to Paul s mind especially dangerous. The idea of 
ver. 9 unites itself to what precedes as follows : " beware lest any 
one should spoil you through the deceptive philosophy which is not 


after Christ ; of this we must beware, because in Christ dwelleth 
all the fulness of the Godhead ; consequently that alone can be true 
which is after him." According to the parallel passage, i. 19, the 
sense of our passage cannot be doubtful. To interpret nav -b rrA?/- 
pw^a TIJS deoTTj-og, the ivliole fulness of the Godhead, of the totality 
of the church, or of the whole circle of doctrine which God would 
convey to man through Christ, is so arbitrary and contradictory to 
the context that it must be rejected as completely inadmissible. 
(See Bahr in the Comm. ad h. 1.) Paul speaks here, as at i, 19, 
of the conjunction of the Divine and human natures in Christ, of 
the Son of God s incarnation in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. 
But the aufjtariKcj^, bodily, is obscure, and requires a closer consider 
ation. The interpretation totaliter, which Heumann among others 
defends, is to be rejected at once ; for, not to mention that no pas 
sage can be adduced in which o^iarm^x; has that meaning, the to 
tality is surely already expressed in the "nav TO TrA/ypw/za in the 
strongest way. Nor can we explain oufiannwg as vere, realiter, in 
opposition to " typical," with Grotius, Nosselt, and others, after 
Augustine. For, although a&na, as the opposite of OKIO,, means the 
essential fulfilment in opposition to what is typical, still no example 
occurs in which oufiariKtig is used in opposition to TV-IK&S. Nor 
does the construction with naroticsl harmonize with this sense. For 
we can say, indeed, " the temple is a type of Christ," but not " the 
Son of God dwells typically in the temple." Yet this must neces 
sarily be admissible, in order to make a fitting antithesis to the 
sentiment, the fulness of the Godhead dwells really (not merely 
typically) in Jesus. Swjua-nKw? now can mean either " Bodily" or 
" in substance." For the former acceptation many of the Fathers 
had already declared themselves, in later times Calixtus, Calovius, 
Gerhard, Storr, Flatt, Bahr ; Bohmer leaves it undecided which is 
preferable. Steiger expresses himself too harshly in calling this view 
tasteless and insipid ; its adoption, on the contrary, is perfectly 
conceivable if they regarded the heretics as docetics. This now we 
cannot do, as was remarked on i. 22 ; but, even putting out of sight 
that point in the doctrine of the Colossian false teachers, the expla 
nation of a^armug as == iv rw ou/aari is discountenanced by the fact 
that this Divine indwelling in the human nature of Jesus, and 
therefore also in the body, is already involved in the KV aurw. Were, 
then, this &v avr& meant to be more accurately defined, Paul would 
not certainly, for that purpose, have chosen the adverb by which the 
idea is united with the verb Ka-oiKet } but would have written simply 
iv roJ CTWjtwm. The adverbial form admits of no other acceptation 
than essentialiter, substantialiter, ovotutitig, Thus Athanasius, The- 
ophylact, (Ecumenius, have already interpreted, and later the Ke- 
formers in a body, as also Wolf, Bochart, Steiger, and others. For 


the explanation of this use of a^a= substantiate must appeal, not so 
much to the Hebrew as. to which otiua does not exactly correspond, 
as to the use of tpa, body, which in the rabbinical dialect is perfectly 
analogous to our " substance." (See Buxtorf. Lex. Kabb. et Talm., 
p. 405.) But the further question arises, what is the meaning of 
this clause, " the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells essentially, 
substantially in him ?" against what heretical mode of conception 
does it form the antithesis ? The verb KaTontclv and the present 
tense are especially to be insisted upon ; by them Paul opposes 
those Gnostic views which supposed a merely temporary influence of 
a higher spirit upon Jesus from his baptism to his death ; Christ is 
a permanent Divine Shechinah ; even on the throne of the Father 
the glorified human nature is combined with the Divine. But ou- 
uartKug intimates the difference between the being of God in Christ 
and that in man, of which the words next following treat ; in Christ 
God is essentially present, not merely as influence, but centrally, so 
that Jesus is not a deified man, but God-man ; on the other hand, 
the indwelling of God in man is to be considered as only operation; 
God is in them, but they are not God. 

Ver. 10. That nai KO-E cannot be taken imperatively is suffi 
ciently inherent in the very idea ; we cannot demand to be filled by 
Qod. Besides, the New Testament puts yiveaBe for the imperative, 
not tare. The clause depends, like KV avT& Karoncst, on tm ? with 
which no doubt an express vpeis would have been suitable, because 
the dwelling of the fulness of God in Christ, and belivers being filled 
by him, form antitheses. With ver. 8 this clause is thus connected : 
" beware of a philosophy ov Kara Xpiorov, for he fills you ; therefore 
you must give place to no foreign influence." Yet KV av-& surprises 
us. We might deem it necessary to take KV here in the sense of 
did, as Christ is certainly to be considered as he who fills his own. 
But it is more suitable to suppose a conciseness in the phrase, and 
that tare KV avr& 7r7rA??pw/jvot stands for " in him, i. e., as being in 
communion with him, ye are filled with his life." After this, Paul 
details further how everything is given to the faithful in Christ ; 
therefore they are to keep themselves to him alone, as the head, 
which is just what the false teachers do not do (ver. 19), in that 
they unite themselves to subordinate powers, whom Christ governs. 
Therefore Paul calls him 1} Ke^aA?) ^dorjq dp^g nal tgovoias, the head 
of all dominion and power. (See at i. 16.) The name 0aA^ is 
derived from the image of a&\ia^ as the church is usually called ; the 
reading gjttcAqata? for dp%rjg in D.E. could therefore very easily arise. 
Here Paul seems either to have conceived the whole spiritual world as 
the body whose head Christ is, or he has only in this latter expression 
adhered to the idea of him that guides and governs. As to the rest, 
the names dpxai and tfouatat in themselves might be used as well of 


bad angels as of good ones. But from the polemical aim of Paul 
against the angel-worship of the Colossian heretics, it is to be as 
sumed that he had good spirits principally in his mind. (See, how 
ever, at ver. 15.) The reading <3 or 6 has certainly important 
authorities in its favour ; Lachrnann has received 6 into the text,- 
and Steiger defends it, considering nvb/pw/za as the subject. But 
then, in vers. 11 and 12 too, KV w would necessarily have to be re 
ferred to Tr/b/pwjua, which, however, is entirely unsuitable ; it is not 
in the fulness of the Godhead as such that the faithful are circum 
cised, dead, risen again, but in the person of Jesus Christ, in whom 
the fulness of the Godhead dwells, therefore in the incarnate Son of 
God, in the God-man. This decides, even with inferior critical au 
thorities, for of as the true reading. 

Ver. 11. Paul then shews in the sequel of this representation, 
how in Christ all that the believer can possess in spiritual blessings 
is already given him in Christ. Christ s death and resurrection are 
vicarious for mankind : as all fell in Adam, so all are dead and rise 
again in Christ. This idea is very familiar to the apostle, and has 
already been particularly considered in detail in the Comm. at Horn, 
v. 12, seq., vi. 1, seq. 

The aorists receive thus their proper meaning (see on Rom. viii. 
30); in Christ all is fulfilled once for all ; his TereXearai holds good 
for eternity ; the life of the church and of the individual in her is 
only the development of what has already been given in him. It 
seems peculiar in this passage that the vicarious work of Christ (ac 
cording to which the iv <L is to be taken quite literally, inasmuch as 
the faithful are conceived as reposing spiritually in Christ, the spir 
itual Adam, in the same way as all reposed bodily in Adam, their 
bodily progenitor) is referred, not merely to the particular events of 
the death and the resurrection, as usual, but to circumcision also. 
But in the t-v o> Kal TrepteTju^re we must not think, for instance, of 
the bodily circumcision of Christ, as if that were conceived as a cir 
cumcision of all (for the discourse here is of the spiritual circum 
cision of all, and not of the bodily one) ; the ideas of death and 
circumcision are here treated as identical, as the epexegetic annex 
ation of the clause avv-a^vreg avrti t v TGJ (3a~Tiofj,ari, buried luith him 
in baptism, to what precedes shews. 

For the burial is only the absolutely consummated death, to 
which baptism is compared, as Rom. vi. 4, with reference to the rite 
of submersion, by which the old man is withdrawn from sight in the 
same way as the dead man by burial. But circumcision is a figura 
tive death ; the entire old man was to die as a sacrifice for sin, in 
stead of which his blood is partially shed and the foreskin removed, 
as a type of the sinful appendages (rrpooap-jjuaTa, as the Gnostics 
said) of the soul. The faithful are therefore circumcised in Christ 
VOL. V. 14 


spiritually, as his death in the faith is their death too. In baptism, 
as the act in which the new birth is realized, the faithful die with 
Christ, are buried with him, and receive therewith the circumcision 
of Christ (the 7Tpirop.7j a^poTrow/rof), which Christ accomplishes by 
.his Spirit, the circumcision of the heart. (Comp. Deut. x. 16, xxx. 6, 
Jerem. iv. 4, with Kom. ii. 28, 29.) The added epexegetical clause, 
KV -y dTTEndvoEL rov oufiarog T7/f aapiwg, is also peculiar. The whole of 
the context shews that body of flesh (otifia rrj$ aapnog) cannot here de 
note, as at i. 22, the physical body, for the spiritual circumcision cer 
tainly does not liberate from the physical body ; aopf here has a ref 
erence to the sinfulness of human nature. If we compare Col. iii. 9, 
dneit6vadjj.evoi rbv iraXaibv dvOpUTiov avv rdlg Trpd&aiv avrov, it cannot 
be doubtful that d-xEn8vai<; rov ouparos ri\q aaptc6g denotes the same 
thing. w/m rijg oapK.6$ = o&na oapniKpv, a oti^a which contains in 
it the nature of the <rap, of sinfulness. It is presumable that Paul 
chose this expression with reference to the death which the follow 
ing ovvra(j)svreg presupposes. Death is the laying aside of the body : 
in like manner the spiritual death which man dies with Christ the 
total circumcision which Christ performs is the laying aside of the 
sinful body, i. e., the putting off the old man and the putting on the 
new one. This way of taking the words was, no doubt, the founda 
tion also of the reading rtiv dp-apntiv, which, it is true, can make no 
claim at all to reception into the text, but is a correct interpretation 
of rift aapKog. On the other hand, that interpretation of the a&pa 
r?~/f oapiwg, for which, among the latest interpreters, Bahr and Stei- 
gcr declare themselves, and which makes aw/m mean not the corpo 
reity, but the totality, and takes the allusion to circumcision as 
opposing the removal of an insignificant part of the body to the re 
moval of all the sinfulness, seems to me far-fetched. Paul himself 
declares, Kom. vii. 18, OVK oiKsl iv Kfj,ol } roDr KOTIV EV ry capni jj,ov } 
dya06v } there dwellcth not in me, etc. ; certainly, therefore, the body 
is not, as such (as matter), the cause of sin, but sin takes root in 
the body, as the latter now exhibits itself ; i. e., in the body and 
the soul which animates it, without which the body cannot exist, 
unless it is to sink down to mere Kpeag, In this sinful condition the 
body is a body of flesh, and Christ delivers from it. Of course, the op 
erations of Christ are here conceived ideally, as ver. 12 plainly shews ; 
it cannot, therefore, be objected, " the Christian is not really here 
below freed as yet from the carnal body ;" just in proportion as he is 
not yet freed, he is also not yet Christ s : hence at iii. 5 the exhorta 
tion, vexpuoare rd jut /l?? vp&v rd ercl rr^ yrjg, mortify your members, etc. 
To this comparison of the death of the faithful, as the inward, 
spiritual circumcision, with the outiuard circumcision in the Old 
Testament, in which is involved the intimation that in the New 
Testament baptism has stepped into the place of bodily circum- 

COLOSSIANS II. 12, 13. 211 

cision, Paul was, no doubt, prompted by the over-rating of that 
outward rite on the part of the Colossian heretics. Those Judaists 
along with other ordinances of the Old Testament (see verse 16), 
imposed circumcision also on the Gentile Christians. This betrays 
their utterly materialist tendency, for the Old Testament had already 
recognized bodily circumcision as a symbol of the circumcision of the 
heart, and so had deeper-penetrating Rabbis too. (See Bohrner ad 
h. 1. p. 187.) And not merely so, for instance, that they considered 
both, the outward sign and the inward disposition, as necessarily 
connected, but also in such a way that they looked on the inward 
reality as a compensation for the absent outward sign. Thus Rabbi 
Moses, Nachman s son, says : qui concupiscit et ad volupto.tes incli- 
nat, ille dicitur V3, quicunque verb nee voluptates nee concupiscentias 
sectatur is dicitur V. Compare besides Rom. ii. 28, 29, and the 
words of the Rabbi Lippmann cited in the note in the Comm. on 
that passage. (On d^ettJOTroirjrog see Mark xiv. 58 ; 2 Cor. v. 1. 
The substantive dneicdvaig is only found here. On the figure which 
lies at the root of the words d-eKdvaaaOai, iadvaaoOaij h dvoaaOai, see 
at Rom. xiii. 14 ; 2 Cor. v. 3.) 

Ver. 12. As believers are in Christ s death dead with him, and 
in baptism buried with him, so they are now also risen with him in 
his resurrection. (See at Eph. ii. 6.) The power of God, who bears 
the title of raiser of the dead, is, of course, to be considered as the 
positive cause of the raising from the dead ; and faith, with which 
the divine operation is laid hold of, as the negative one. Paul makes 
the latter aspect of the matter prominent here, in order to make it 
observed by what means Christ s work first really becomes man s. 
But faith is here more accurately designated as mang rr\<; Kvepyeiag 
rov Oeov. All the later interpreters are unanimous on the point 
that these words are to be taken thus : u faith, which the operation 
of God calls forth," and not, " faith in the operation of God." Only 
we cannot acknowledge the reason that Bahr urges for this interpre 
tation, viz., that the parallel passage (Eph. i. 19) is to be thus taken, 
since, as was shewn in the exposition of that passage, the connexion 
of Kara ri]v tvepyeiav, it. r. A., is a different one, unlike that here in 
Colossians. For the rest, this passage is the most decided and open 
of those in the New Testament in which faith is referred to the op 
eration of God. In man as God s creature, every good thing is, with 
out exception, precisely 6rod s work; the prerogative of resistance, 
and therefore of sin, is alone man s property. Faith is not some 
thing which man himself can make and call forth at will ; it is 
God s work in him. 

Ver. 13. At first sight the idea of verse 12 seems tautologk 
cally repeated here, hut, whereas in what precedes from verse 9 down 
wards the person and work of Christ were described quite generally. 


here the special application of that work to the readers of this 
epistle and to their Christian experience is made. It is true the 
second person (-epier^d^re^ owrp/K^OrjTe ) had already been put in 
verses 11, 12 ; with those words, however, the Colossians are not ad 
dressed as such, but the second person sets forth the readers of the 
epistle as representatives of the totality of the church. The em 
phatic nal i-pag first marks the point at which the apostle s discourse 
makes a transition to his readers personally, since it must be taken 
" and thus he hath quickened you too. who were dead in your sins." 
Finally, the passage is completely parallel to Eph. ii. 1, 5, and we 
therefore refer in respect to it to the exposition there. This pas 
sage might seem, however, to contradict the difference between 
ovfaoTToieiv and aweyeipeiv assumed at Eph. ii. 5, as the latter here 
precedes the former expression, while according to the distinction 
there drawn, it should follow. But, as we have already remarked 
above, no progress is to be supposed in verse 13 in relation to verse 
12, which rather expresses the objectivity of Christ s work, while 
verse 13, on the contrary, expresses the actual state of the Chris 
tians in Colossce. These were roused, quickened, but not yet arrived, 
at the fulness of the risen life ; here too, therefore, the difference 
between the two words assumed by us is fully verified. The life- 
giving, resuscitating, point in the gospel is the forgiveness of all 
sins, not of the actual ones merely, but also of original sin ; not of 
the past only, but of future sins also ; for in Christ an inexhaustible 
stream of forgiving love is opened, which stream is accessible to every 
one who approaches it in true, profound repentance, and pure, un 
feigned faith therefore with a lively yearning to be made pure from 
sin. Only the addition to vetcpovg ry aKpofivoria rijg aapubs vpu)v ; in 
the uncircumcision of your flesh, is peculiar to this passage. It 
plainly refers to the above comparison (verse 11) with circumcision ; 
the spiritually dead, carnally living, state, in which the flesh is mas 
ter, is the one analogous to aKpopvaria, but the spiritual and living 
condition, in which the lusts of the flesh are mortified, answers to 
circumcision. (The ovv CLVT& is cot, of course, to be understood of 
outward companionship, but of inward unity, in accordance with 
the preceding iv w. Instead of the reading v\u.v of the text. rec. } the 
MSS. with an overwhelming majority have rjfuv, which might easily 
have been altered on account of the vfias preceding.) 

Ver. 14. The idea of the forgiveness of sins is further illustrated 
in what follows, but in an entirely peculiar, and extremely obscure, 
manner. We are at first inclined to believe that, after the well- 
known figure, which conceives sin in its relation to God s justice as 
a relation of debt, the burden of sin is here called a bond or note of 
hand, which the Kedeemer has blotted out, nay destroyed, by his 
work. Thus many interpreters have understood either Adam s sin, 


as the original sin, which comprises all others in itself (so already 
Irenams, Tertullian, Ambrose, Theophylact, (Ecumenius), or the 
conscience, i. e. : the consciousness of sin in man ; thus particularly 
Luther and the other reformers, except Calvin. But this meaning 
would require, in the first place, %eip6ypa<f)ov f][j,tiv } not naQ r\\i(Jv j and 
secondly it is forbidden by the addition rolg doy^aaiv which cannot 
be understood of the dogmas of Christianity, as already observed at 
Eph. ii. 15. The reference of #pdypa0ov to the body of Christ, as 
Theodoret proposes, is based on the last words of this verse, -rrpoar]- 
kuoag avrb rw a~avp&. But Ba hr (ad h. 1.) has convincingly shewn 
in opposition to Steiger, who in the exposition of the first Epistle of 
Peter (p. 294) had declared himself for this interpretation of Theodoret 
(in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, Steiger himself 
has altered his view), that the body of Christ cannot possibly be desig 
nated as a note of hand or acknowledgment of debt. Besides, even 
thus rolg doyfiaoiv finds no satisfactory explanation. According to 
the parallel Eph. ii. 15, the discourse must also here be referred to the 
law, not merely the law of conscience, nor even merely the cere 
monial part of the Mosaic law (for, as Bohmer convincingly proves, 
the TtdvTa TO, -aga nr^ara preceding obliges us to adopt a compre 
hensive acceptation of the law), but to the law in all its relations, ex 
clusively, however, in respect to its commanding, requiring form, 
without the faculty of communicating higher powers, so that it can 
kill, but not make alive. (See on Kom. vii. 9, seq. ; 2 Cor. iii. 6 ; 
Gal. iii. 10.) Inasmuch as this characteristic of the law has arrived 
at the completest development in the Mosaical Law, we must direct 
our thoughts especially to the latter. Accordingly, xptp6ypfuf>ov is 
not a bond by which man acknowledges himself to be a sinner, but 
a bill which declares the guilt of man on the part of God, and rouses 
in man the consciousness of it. God s law is, on account of this in 
fluence, a bill against man, and that bill is also blotted out with the 
debt itself, i, e., in the case of the reconciled sinner the law has no 
longer the effect of condemning him, for Christ s righteousness is 
his righteousness. The 66y(ia-a } decrees, harmonizes well with this 
explanation of the word, just as in Eph. ii. 15 ; for this term de 
notes exactly the imperative form of the law. We might indeed 
here too, as there, wish for iv rolg doy/iaaiv, instead of the dative 
alone. It is true, Fathers and translations read tV, but no M88. 
The annexation, however, of the dative to ^apdypo^ov for the idea, 
" bill, which consists in ordinances," is intolerably harsh ; it must 
necessarily have been rendered by TO KV rolg doypaoiv. I prefer, with 
Winer (Gr. 31. 10. Anm. 1), the connexion with what follows, in 
the sense, " which bill, by means of the ordinances, stood hostilely 
against us." Doubtless even thus the position of the dative is not 
quite natural, but Winer refers us rightly, no doubt, to the analo- 


gous passage Acts i. 2 ; at all events this difficulty cannot be com 
pared with that of connecting rotg doypaoiv with what precedes. In 
the sequel of the passage we should regard teal avrb rjpKsv t/c 
as but interpreting more fully t a/lti/>a, did not the clause 
Awcraf avrb rw aravpw lead to something else. For the view, ad 
vanced by Grotius, that a law is proclaimed to be abrogated by nail 
ing it up, is but little probable, because, even if the custom is 
capable of proof, yet the Scriptures do not know it, and particularly 
in this connexion, after vers. 11 and 12 have treated of the death 
and resurrection of Christ, his cross alone can be thought of. Nor, 
of course, is this passage to be referred to the superscription, " This 
is the King of the Jews," but to the nailing of Christ himself to the 
cross, consequently to the atoning death of our Lord. By this the 
Jaw itself, in its merely imperative form, was abrogated along with 
the blotting out of sin ; thus the law, as %tp<5ypa0ov, was abolished, 
nailed, as it were, with its doypaai, in Christ himself, together with 
him, to the cross. The aipeiv KK TOV \iiaov receives by this means the 
signification of being killed, annihilated ; Christ s death was also 
the law s death, or, by a different turn of the thought, the faithful 
are with Christ dead to the law, as it is said Horn. vii. 6 : Karrjpyij- 
OTJJJ.EV dub TOV vop,ov } drrodavovreg, tv & KareL^oneda. ( E^aAei0a) is 
found Acts iii. 19, of the forgiveness of sins. See also the LXX., 
Isaiah xliii. 25 ; Ps. li. 9. In Kev. [iii. 5, vii. 17, xxi. 4] it is found 
in the sense of " to wipe away, blot out." Xeipoypafiov denotes pro 
perly every writing, but especially a bond, ypa^pa-elov XPEOV$ fyioAo- 
yrj-iKov. "Tirevdv-iog is found again in the New Testament at Heb. 
x. 27. The LXX. often use it for sy. Bohmer, without sufficient 
reason, lays a stress on VTTO, and takes the idea thus, " which is 
secretly hostile to us." The reading ^OK EV is with justice preferred 
by Griesbach, Lachmann, and others, to $pev, which D.Gr. afford. 
A.IOELV tK TOV [j,t:aov answers to our " put out of the way," either in 
the meaning, " remove, exclude from a community," as 1 Cor. v. 2, 
or " kill," as 2 Thess. ii. 7 ; Isaiah Ivii. 1. ITpocr^Aow, from ^/lo?, a 
nail, is not found again in the New Testament.) 

Ver. 15. Paul at length closes this entire grand and profound 
description of the person of Christ and of his work with the sublime 
idea that the Redeemer is the victor over all the hostile powers of 
the universe, that he leads them all in triumph as vanquisher of 
them on his cross. In form the statement is subjoined independently 
as an asyndeton, since, after the foregoing nal avrb rjpitev, K. -. A., no 
new tempus Jinitum could be expected without a conjunction. For 
the rest, here too the representation is still so conceived that God is 
the subject ; he, the Father, performs everything through Christ. 
Therefore, too, at the end of this verse, the reading v av-ti is to be 
preferred to t v avr&. Now, that the dp^ai and K^ovaiai } here spoken 


of, arc not the Jewish magistrates and theocratic powers, nor the 
good angels either, is recognized and convincingly shewn by all 
later interpreters ; it can only be the evil powers, which, as KOOJIO- 
Kpdropeg, have in their power men who are in sin. (See at Eph. vi. 12.) 
Along with sin itself the princes of this world, the devil and his 
angels, are also conquered. But the import of aTrsudvaduevog is dif 
ficult, especially on account of the remarkable reading n]v odpua, 
which F.Gr. and several of the Fathers defend. Were this reading 
correct, the accusatives rag dp%dg nal rag tgovaiag must have been 
joined with what follows, and then dirsKdvoduevog -rjv odpKa would 
refer to Christ s laying aside the flesh in death. But intrinsic and 
extrinsic arguments are against that reading. The critical authori 
ties for the omission of r?jv capita preponderate, and its origin is 
easily explained by the foregoing Kpoaqkuaag av-b r<Z oravp& } upon 
which it seemed necessary for death to follow. Besides, Paul would 
doubtless have said dmndvaaoOai -b o^ta of the death of Christ, in 
stead of r?jv adpKa. If, therefore, we have to connect direicdvoduevog 
rdg dp^af KOI egovaiag, it is a question, how then is the verb d^endv- 
oaaOai to be taken ? With reference to Bpiaijftevetv following, the evil 
spirits must be imagined as warriors in their armour (see Eph. vi. 
12), against whom Christ fights and deprives them of their armour, 
strips them of it. The meaning answers to the words eig rovro t-0ave- 
p&dri 6 vibg rov Qeov, Iva kvorj rd tpya rov 6iaf36kov,for this the Son of 
God was manifested, etc., 1 John iii. 8. To the mention of vanquish 
ing the evil powers is further subjoined the making an open slioiv of 
them by means of the triumph. Edeiyudnae involves nothing dif 
ferent from Opia[ij3evetv, on the contrary, the former is effected in and 
through the latter. As, therefore, Paul at 1 Cor. iv. 9 represents 
himself and his fellow apostles as a spectacle for the world, and for 
angels, and for men ; so is Christ s victory in a heightened form a 
spectacle for the universe, in which he leads the conquered in 
triumph. The expression of this powerful image is still further 
strengthened by the trait, that it is Christ s cross in which this 
triumph is accomplished. For fa avrti is to be explained with a ref 
erence to fa oravpti (ver. 14), as indeed many MSS. read too here fa 
oravpti or fa fv/Uj, in which to be sure, we see merely explanations 
of fa avr&. The cross of Christ, the apparently shameful destruc 
tion of his work, was thus the victorious triumph over all his ene- 
.mies, over the visible and over the invisible. (Astyfiarifa stands here 
= Trapadeiyuarifa, Matth. i. 19 ; Heb. vi. 6. The conception of shew 
ing at the triumph necessarily passes over into that of exposing to 
shame. Ej^ napp^aia here expresses the publicity. [See John vii. 
4, xi. 54.] But, of course, the idea of publicity is to be understood 
here spiritually, " Jesus led them in triumph before the eyes of the 
world of spirits," not before the physical eyes of men. -On 

216 COLOSSI ANS II. 16, 17. 

see 2 Cor. ii. 14, where, however, it stands, as in the hiphil 
signification for triumphare facere. Here it is = TropTrevetv, tri- 
umplium agere.) 

Ver. 16. After this long discussion on the person and work of 
Christ (vers. 9-15), Paul, connecting his discourse again with ver. 8, 
returns to the direct combating of the Colossian false teachers. 
Their Judaizing character stands out here quite unmistakably, in 
asmuch as Paul calls on his readers not to allow themselves to be 
intimidated by their demand of a strict fulfilment of the ceremo 
nial ordinances of the Mosaical law. It is questionable, however, 
whether the Judaists preserved the ordinances of the Old Testament 
pure, or mixed them with the Rabbino-Talrnudical additions. The 
latter is rendered probable by their entire character. As they prac 
tised a rigorous asceticism (ii. 23), they cannot have confined their 
decisions as to meat and drink to the law of Moses (in which, be 
sides, no ordinance was given in regard to drinks) : we may rather 
suppose that they (like the Koman ascetics), avoided all indulgence 
in meat and strong drinks (Rom. xiv.) At the root of this ascetic 
tendency there lay, probably obscurely, the opinion that matter is 
the cause of evil, which must have led, as a natural consequence, to 
Docetism. But in the commencement of heresies we do not find 
the perverted fundamental ideas developed as yet in all their conse 
quences : we have, therefore, no right on that account, viz., because 
they lived ascetically, to suppose Docetism in the Colossian false 
teachers. The Roman ascetics were no Docetes either. The feasts 
finally denote here the well-known three great feasts of the Jews, 
the Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles. The new 
moons were, according to Numb, xxviii. 11-15, solemnized as great 
and joyful festivals. See details in Winer s Encyclopaedia, vol. ii. 
p. 176, seq. (Kpivetv has here, as at Rom. ii. 1, the meaning of a 
rejecting, condemnatory, judging. The KV \i p e i t-op-jfc, instead of 
the simple tv, is difficult. The reading iv i\\i^a is plainly a mere 
refuge for the difficult reading /uepei, and can make no pretension to 
recognition. The attempts of earlier interpreters to get its special 
meaning from that which takes pepog as segregatio or participatio, 
are recognized in recent times as untenable. Ev fiepet is also, in pro 
fane writers, used adverbially in the sense, "with respect, with re 
gard to/ a sense here perfectly suitable. [Compare the passages in 
Wetstein and Losner belonging to this subject.] The plural oa(3- 
Qdruv is not to be referred to the sabbatical years and the years of 
jubilee ; it is, on the contrary, only a plural form used along with 
the singular, as Matth. xii. 1 ; Luke iv. 16, shew. Compare, in the 
LXX., Ex. xx. 10 ; Levit. xxiii. 32 ; Numb, xxviii. 9, 10. Also 1 
Mace. ii. 38 ; Josephus Arch. i. 1, 1.) 

Yer. 17. Those institutions of the Old Testament (a refers to 


all that precedes, not to adf3 t 3ara merely) are designated as a shadow 
of things to come (oi<id -wv jiie/lAdi rajv, pevovruv is a totally needless 
conjecture). The antithesis to o/cid is formed by otifia, shadow and 
substance are opposed to each other ; this substance is in Christ 
and the New Testament which he established. For this, therefore, 
the shadowy images serve no longer. To imagine in the atyia the 
spiritual body of Christ, the church, was possible only through a total 
misapprehension of the passage. Still the genitive Xptarov has some 
difficulty in it (the article before the word is, according to the best 
MSS., to be expunged); we expect the nominative 6 Xpmrdf, a read 
ing which is, however, found only in authorities of no importance. 
But the genitive here denotes property : " the substance is Christ s, 
i. e., it comes from him, is derived from him." Of course, Christ 
and his influence on the human race are precisely " the things to 
come" (TO, ^e/Uovra), of which the Old Testament, with its symboli 
cal-typical character, forms the shadow. That Christ was already 
come, and the church already established, at the time that Paul 
wrote this, can cause no difficulty as regards the choice of the term. 
^tvUovra, for that is chosen from the point of view of the Old Tes 
tament, as seen from which the New Testament was the future. 
But, as to the more exact import of oitid, it of course, as antithesis 
to aw/za, implies^rs^ the idea of the nothingness, unsubstantiality of 
the shadow, compared with the body which forms it ; but, further, 
also the analogy between shadow and body. The latter, the body, 
portrays itself accurately in the shadow, which presents an image 
of the body ; thus, too, the Old Testament is a shadow (image) of the 
New, a j6p06JOTf Trjg d^Oeia^ (see at Rom. ii. 20), as symbol and type 
of Christ, of his works, and of his church. Thus, Heb. viii. 5, the 
tabernacle is called oicid r&v KTrovpaviuv, and, x. 1, the law is called 
oKid rtiv nehXovTW dyaOwv, with which eluuv ~&v Trpay^druv is con 
trasted. According to this, it is clear that it cannot possibly have 
been Paul s meaning that the institution of the Sabbath by Moses 
is to hold good also in its outward character for the Christian 
church ; this is, like all the rest in the Old Testament, to be reck 
oned among the oKidi r&v ^e^ovruv. According to Rom. xiv. 5, 6, 
there seems to have been absolutely no particular festival-time in 
the ancient church ; their entire life was one feast in the joy of the 
Holy Spirit. True, inasmuch as in the outward church of the pres 
ent the ideal of the church of Christ is only approximately real 
ized, certain regulations and ordinances become a necessity ; but a 
Christian celebration of Sunday is still ever to be distinguished 
from the slavish service of the Old Covenant. This is well shewn 
by Ruckert, in the essay " Of the Lord s Day," Erlangen, 1839, 
8, in opposition to Liebetrut s work, " The Lord s Day and its 


Ver. 18. The Oolossian false teachers had, however, other con 
siderable errors also, besides their outward adherence to the ordi 
nances of Moses ;* they pretended to a deeper knowledge of Divine 
things, which, with an apparent humility, was accompanied by an 
excessive pride. Against this tendency, which may easily infect 
nobler minds thirsting after truth and knowledge, Paul gives the 
most emphatic warning. The word KaTafipafaveiv , which the apos 
tle here employs, is not found in the New Testament except here. 
Jerome thinks he discovers in it a Cilicism peculiar to Paul, but 
without reason, as Demosthenes, Polybius, and others, use it. Bpa- 
favEiv is to adjudge the prize of combat (fipafalov), therefore, in gen 
eral, " to determine, decide ;" accordingly, icaTa(3pa[3vetv is used = 
KaraKpiveiv in the sense of, " to decide against any one," properly, 
" to deprive him of the prize of victory." The meaning suits here 
perfectly well, as the [irjdelg vfidg Karappafievh-u) here answers to the 
P7 rig i-j-iag KpiviiTu in ver. 16. Hesychius and Suidas had already 
explained the expression thus with reference to our passage. Since 
Paul makes use elsewhere too of the figure of the (3paj3elov (Phil. iii. 
14), after the comparison of the Christian life with the running on 
the race course, we can here keep to the proper meaning of the word 
Karafipafieveiv, so that the sense of the words is this : " let no one 
(by leading you astray to his false doctrines) rob you of your prize," 
that is, draw you away from Christ, and consequently from your 
eternal happiness, which rests on him. The four participles which 
follow describe more accurately the nature of these heretics, and 
depend therefore, one and all, on fir]6dg KarafipafievKTu. This con 
struction then refutes at once the interpretation which Steiger, 
among others, has once more defended, in which Oekuv is taken ad 
verbially here, in conformity with the well-known Greek use of the 
word " willingly/ For Biihr justly observes that each of the four 
participles must clearly have its independent meaning, as each has 
its particular appendage. Besides, no construction gives a natural 
sense, if Oekuv is taken adverbially. Connected with what follows, 
the words would necessarily mean, " willingly walking solemnly in 
humility and angel-worship." But Steiger himself confesses that it 
is unsuitable to take tyftaTsveiv in the sense " to walk in state," and 
besides, then the junction of a p) t-upanev is but harsh. But neither 
will OKAUV give a suitable sense when connected adverbially with 
what precedes: " let no one willingly rob you of your prize," gives 
an incongruous idea. For, even if we turn the words so, " let no 
one have a pleasure in robbing you of your prize," they involve the 

* It has already been observed in the Introduction to this epistle ( 2, ^[ 2), that 
these words might be taken as if these false teachers here designated were different from 
those described in ver. 1C ; their identity is not expressly asserted, but the analogy of the 
heretics in the Pastoral Epistles makes their identity still in the highest degree probable. 


awkwardness of addressing to the heretics the admonition which 
should, under the scope of the passage, be addressed to the exposed 
and tempted Colossians. Just as little is there to favour the inter 
pretation which takes OKAWV ID its usual meaning, so that the sense 
is this : " as he (the misleader) will designedly deprive you of your 
crown in false humility and angel-worship." For how the angel- 
worship of others is to contribute to deprive the Christians in 
Colossee of their prize, is not to be seen. The only correct method 
is, certainly, according to Hesychius and Phavorinus, whom most of 
the interpreters have followed, especially, among the latest, Bahr, 
Bohmcr, and others, to take Ot Aow here = evdoit&v : " who takes a 
delight in humility and angel-worship." Q&.eiv is often found so in 
Hellenistic usage, with KV following, after the analogy of the Hebrew 
a ye*. (See the LXX. at 1 Sam. xviii. 22 ; 2 Sam. xv. 26 ; 1 
Chron. xxviii. 4 ; Ps. cxvi 2.) It is clear from the nature of the 
case that raneivo^poavvr] here is a pretended humility ; elsewhere 
the term is used of true humility, as Eph. iv. 2 ; Phil. ii. 3 ; 
1 Pet. v. 5 ; and also Col. iii. 12. Here, and at ver. 23, it de 
notes that simulated humility which appeared in those heretics 
coupled with conceit and pride. But as to the second phrase, 6pv- 
oaeia rtiv ayytvlan , the more ancient interpretations, which take the 
genitive subjectively, may be viewed as sufficiently refuted. (See 
Bahr on this passage, p. 209, seq.) The translation, " worship, 
which is taught by angels/ or " which the angels practise," . e., 
worship in angel-like holiness, plainly does not suit the context. 
Bahr rightly observes that the defenders of this interpretation seem 
to be compelled to it only by the circumstance that they had inter 
preted the names igovoiat, dp%di, K. r. A., in what precedes, not of 
angels, but of human powers. The ov Kpartiv TT\V Kefakijv, i. e., 
Christ (ver. 19), leaves no doubt that the discourse is here of a wor 
ship dedicated to the angels, which many of the Gnostic sects prac 
tised, and for that purpose .clothed themselves with secret names of 
angels. (See Iren. adv. haer. i. 31, 2, ii. 32, 5 ; Tertull. de prtescr. 
c. 33. Josephus also relates similar things of the Essenes [B. J. ii. 
8, 7.]) This interpretation clears up the union of " false humility 
and " angel-worship ;" that is to say, the false teachers in the wor 
shipping of angels strove after a false humility in that they thought 
they dared not venture to approach the supreme God himself ; in 
like manner as the adoration of angels and saints in the Romish 
church is usually justified. Thus Chrysostom had already observed 
of this false humility: dai riveg ol Mymmg ov del 6td rov Xpiorov 
TrpoadyeoOai, aPJla did r&v ayye/law, KK.ELVO yap (ielov rj nad i ]fidg. (See 
Bohmer s second excursus after his isagoge.") This self-chosen and 
invented worship is called afterwards in ver. 23 0eAo0(W7<wcefa, which 
term also there again appears in conjunction with ra-ei 


In the words following, a JUT) twpa/cev fyftarevuv, the critical au 
thorities vary exceedingly. First of all, F.G-. read OVK instead of 
firj, but A.B.D. omit the negative altogether. This latter reading 
Lachniann has adopted, and it seems, in fact, to deserve the prefer 
ence ; for it is easily understood how people thought they were 
obliged to add a negative to a t-wpa/cev, which was afterwards ex 
pressed at one time by OVK } at another by \if\ 3 but scarcely how one 
could strike out the existing \ir\. For, without a negative, a twpa/cgv 
is ironical ; it refers to the pretended knowledge of the heavenly 
world on the part of the heretics which they gave out that they pos 
sessed throuh visions and intuitions. The readins t-wpa/ca/iev and 

re have but inconsiderable authorities for them, and their ori 
gin is also explained by the assumption that a Kupanev was the orig 
inal reading, which some copyists endeavoured to make intelligible 
to themselves by referring the contemplation to the apostle or to the 
readers. The word i^arsvstv is not found again in the New Testa 
ment, but is often found elsewhere in the sense, "to go, intrude, 
into something/ and that, too, both of God, inasmuch as he pene 
trates the world and the hearts of men, and of men in relation to 
God and Divine things. (Compare the citations in Bahr on this 
passage, p. 212, seq.) The meaning, " to go in state, incedere" 
which Erasmus ascribes to the word, is founded on a false etymol 
ogy. In meaning K[i/3areveiv here answers to the term KeveftftaTsfaa^ 
which, however, is read here only by conjecture. It means elg rd 
Keva paiveiVj i. e. } to strive to find out empty things. The words 
blame, therefore, the pretended possession of profound wisdom of 
which these false teachers boasted. For the relative a refers to the 
angels, and to all which is taught concerning them. They thought 
they had penetrated into the depths of the spiritual world by means 
of spiritual contemplation, dur] 4>voiov[ievoi vnb rov vobg rijg aapicbg 
avrtiv. Their conceit had not, considering the absurdity of their 
pretended secrets as to the realm of spirits, even a show of truth ; 
they were so conceited, ekf/, " without ground or reason." (Sec on 
<}>voiovaOat : 1 Cor. iv. 6, v. 2, viii. 1, and passim.) The combina 
tion vovg rift aapKog is found only here. The apparently contradic 
tory form of the combination is chosen purposely in order to mark 
the un naturalness of their condition of mind. That which sh ould 
govern the flesh, the vov^, is itself in those false teachers sunk under 
the power of the flesh, their vovg is become oapiuKog. (See my 
Opusc. TheoL, p. 157, note.) For the rest the odpt- here is not to 
be understood of gross fleshliness, for the Colossian false teachers 
w 7 ere actually given to a rigorous asceticism (see ver. 23). The term 
rather marks the entire ungodly tendency of the natural man, even 
when it exhibits itself in more spiritual forms. 

Ver. 19. Finally, Paul closes the description with the words, 

GOLOSSIANS II. 20, 21. 221 

" and not holding the head" (KOI ov tcpartiv TT JV Kefiahijv, i. c., Xpia- 
TOV). It has already been remarked in the Introduction to this epistle, 
that ov Kpareiv cannot be understood as implying that the false 
teachers had not known of Christ at all, nor wished to know of him. 
Had that been the case, Paul might have spared all his polemics. 
The Kparelv is to be taken here as = Karexeiv, the metaphor, as is 
shewn by what follows, being derived from the members of the body, 
which remain members of the organism only by preserving their liv 
ing connexion with the head. Those false teachers, therefore, if 
they do not adhere to Christ, are by that very circumstance sepa 
rated from his church, and by that from his spirit and life. The 
heretics in Colossas wished, it is true, to be Christians ; but they 
placed the angels on a par with the Kedeerner, did not consider 
him as the only way and the truth, and by that course had already 
pronounced their own sentence they were apostate members. The 
succeeding words describe the relation of the whole body, i. e., of the 
church, to Christ, more in detail. (Paul writes e| ov with reference 
to the person of Christ, which is the head.) As to the rest the passage 
exactly answers to the one already explained at Eph. iv. 16, on which 
see the Comm. 

Vers. 20, 21. To this warning description of the perverseness of 
those heretics, the fundamental features of whose character fit the 
sects of all ages, so far as they pursue a similar direction as to knowl 
edge, Paul now annexes an apostrophe which sounds as if the 
heretics themselves were members of the church, or as if the Chris 
tians in Colossse had already lapsed to the false doctrine altogether. 
But the remaining contents of the epistle accord with neither of 
these suppositions. The defenders of that false philosophy (ii. 8) 
cannot possibly be conceived as to be found in communion with the 
church ; they rather wish to draw the Christians in Colossas out of 
that, into their circle. But, again, the laudatory description (ii. 5), 
and the continuous exhortation (ii. 8, 16, 18) not to let themselves 
be led astray, do not suit the supposition that the Colossian Chris 
tians were led astray. We can therefore in ver. 20 see only a form 
of representation ; " Ye who are dead with Christ to the worldly 
elements., why do ye again set up worldly ordinances ?" means sim 
ply, " ye incline that way; ye are on the point of again setting up 
worldly ordinances." In order to bring the inconsistency of this 
proceeding more home to them,- Paul represents their apostacy as 
already accomplished. With reference to the description ii. 11, 12, 
he assumes that the Colossians, as true believers, are with Christ 
dead to the world in genera], and therefore to the worldly elements 
also, i. e., to the law in its outward literal mode of conception. (Cf. 
on ii. 8.) It must therefore appear incongruous if those dead to 
the world, like those who still live in the world, wish again to set 


ap ordinances which are in accordance with the elements of the 
world. (Ver. 20, on d-noOvr\oKLv drro see at Rom. vii. 6 ; Gal. ii. 19. 
Zwvre^ KV Koopu forms the antithesis to dnro&av6vTe$. The discourse, 
therefore, is not of physical life in the world, but of life in the ele 
ment of worldliness which forms the antithesis to the element of 
Christ. Ao} jw<mw is not found again in the New Testament. It 
means " to set up an ordinance;" in the middle, "to let an ordinance 
be imposed on one." But the allowing it to be imposed involves an 
acknowledgment of the righteousness of the ordinance ; consequently, 
the giving one s self up to error. The choice of the word contains a 
clear reference to the doy^aror in ver. 14. The imperative form //?) 
ai/>^, K. T. A., unmistakably expresses the character of the ddyjuaro.) 
In ver. 21 the p7<Se yevoq points back to the laws as to meats, which 
were spoken of in ver. 16, but the two expressions ^ atyq and ju^dt- 
MjW present a difficulty as being synonymous. One of these two 
expressions might be referred to the touching of corpses and other 
things which the Mosaical law pronounces unclean, but how then is 
the other to be taken ? It is somewhat plausible to refer (as par 
ticularly Bohmer still does), fif) ctyy to the prohibition of marriage. 
For aTTTeodai is used per euphemismum for matrimonial cohabitation. 
It is so in 1 Cor. vii. 1, and according to 1 Tim. iv. 3 the false teach 
ers in Ephesus, who were akin to those at Colossse, decidedly for 
bade marriage. The ascetic tendency of the Colossian false teach 
ers (see ver. 23) also well suits the assumption that they abstained 
from marriage. But as any certain intimation on that point fails us 
in this epistle, just as with regard to the docetic tendency, it may 
be too bold to found on the word a^T\ alone a fresh and so important 
a feature of the heretics in Colossas. In the passage 1 Tim. iv. 3 
Paul designates the opposition to marriage as a devilish doctrine. 
From this it is scarcely probable that he would have here touched 
thus merely incidentally on that error. To me it is most probable, 
as Ba hr, too, supposes, that the three synonymous words express 
together the formal tendency of the false teachers, and their recep 
tion of the law in the letter only, looking for holiness in the outward 
instead of the inward, while the individual prohibitions have not, 
and were not to have, a definite separate reference to different 

Ver. 22. The succeeding words admit of being interpreted in 
two ways, either as giving the reasons of the false teachers for their 
ordinances, or as containing condemnatory words of Paul in respect 
to those worldly ordinances. In either case by a -navra are to be un 
derstood, not the prohibitions themselves, but the different objects to 
which the prohibitions of the heretics p? ai/% K. r. A., refer ; but 
tyOopa, in the case of the reference to the false teachers and their de 
fence of their ordinances, is to be interpreted of eternal perdition ; 


in the case of the reference to Paul and his argument against the 
false teachers, of the physical destruction of the prohibited sub 
stances. In the former case the meaning of the words would be this, 
" all which, by the use which is made of them after the command 
ments and doctrines of men, lead to everlasting perdition, and there 
fore must be avoided." This interpretation is defended by Storr 
and Buhmer. With the other interpretations, they must be trans 
lated thus : "all which through use are destined to destruction, /. e., 
which according to God s design are meant to be used," whence it 
follows, that God s will cannot possibly be that we should avoid 
them, and that the avoiding these objects is not capable of produc 
ing holiness. In this acceptation the words a ion dTroxp fjoei have a 
parenthetical character ; the words following, viz., Kara rd t vraA/zara 
Kal SidaoKaAiag raiv dvOpu-uv, allow, according to it, of no direct 
connexion with what immediately precedes, but determine more ac 
curately doypari&aOe p) otyg, K. r. /L, in that they designate the 66y- 
juara of the heretics as mere human inventions. For this interpre 
tation Chrysostom, Theodoret, and otljpr fathers of the church, had 
already declared themselves, afterwards Luther, Grotius, Bahr, 
Steiger, and others. The decision between these two interpretations 
is difficult, as many things are in favour of both, and no other is 
assuredly admissible. For against the explanation of Ambrose, 
Augustine, and some later interpreters, who refer the a to the 66y- 
nara themselves, with the sense, " which commandments, if they are 
followed, all lead to man s destruction," it is a decisive objection, 
that d-oxpfjat S cannot be taken as fulfilment of the commandments. 
Or, if in d^oxprjoig we insist on the meaning " abuse," in opposition 
to the right use, in the sense, " all these things tend, through the 
abuse of them, to the destruction of men, but not through the right 
use of them," we are led into an entirely irrelevant circle of thought. 
For Paul is not occupied with the question as to where the limit 
between use and abuse of meats and other outward things passes, 
but is combating the whole principle of the heretics again to en 
slave under a new law the faithful released from the old law. 
There remain to us, therefore, only the two above-given interpreta 
tions, which, grammatically viewed, are equally admissible. Still, the 
context would seem to favour that which finds here confutatory 
words of Paul, and not defensive utterances of the heretics. For, 
first, the whole passage is not such as to intimate that Paul wished 
here to draw attention to the way in which the false teachers de 
fend their opinions. And, secondly, it is unsuitable to consider the 
words, Kara TO, ivrdtyara nal didaonahiag r&v dvOp(t>7T(i)v } according to 
the commandments and teachings of men, as utterances of the here 
tics, for then, according to that, the apostles themselves, and all 
true believers, would be the dvOpunoi here. From the phrase in ii. 8, 


Kara rrjv -napadoaiv TOJV dv6p>-uv } after the tradition of men. it is 
in the highest degree probable that the analogous one in this pas 
sage is also meant to characterize the ordinances of the false teach 
ers as mere human conceptions, in opposition to the Divine doc 
trines of revelation. Besides we find the same idea, that meats 
and such outward things are, as being empty, without influence on 
the moral life, elsewhere also in Paul (comp. 1 Cor. vi. 13, with 1 
Tim. iv. 4; Matth. xv. 11.) ; it is, therefore, not improbable that 
he has also laid a stress on it here. It is clear then, according to 
this, that Paul is far from reckoning the Mosaical ordinances, as 
such, among the " elements of the world ;" it is only in the purely 
outward conception and arbitrary transformation of them by human 
teachers that he treats them as human ordinances. The terms KV- 
rak\iara and didaattaXiat seem thus to differ here j twrdtyuiTa are 
definitely-conceived commandments or prohibitions, didaonaXiai the 
principles on which they are grounded. (See Matth. xv. 9 ; Mark 
vii. 7.) This our interpretation of the words a ion rrdv-a d^ (pdopdv 
~y d-oxqrioEi, confirms also th interpretation of ver. 21 above given. 
We declined in p) ai/^ the reference to the rejection of marriage ; 
ver. 22 shews that such a supposition is inadmissible as fostering 
also the repulsive meaning, that woman, according to God s de 
sign, exists for the sole purpose of being used by man. ( ATTO^- 
prjaig is not found again in the New Testament. The proper mean 
ing of the word is " use, wear and tear," i. e., the consuming by 
use. It is, however, used, even by good writers, without that 
reference, as entirely = %p^?. Thus by Polybius i. 45, 2, xvii. 
15, 9.) 

Ver. 23. Paul, in finishing off this warning against the false 
teachers at Colossaa, again recapitulates in conclusion their prepos 
terous notions. They have but an apparent wisdom in their hypo 
critical worship, in their affected humility, in their self-invented 
and self-imposed mortification of the flesh ; in short, all is human 
and earthly in them, not Divine and heavenly, as in Christ s doc 
trine. "Anva connects itself quite simply with the preceding 
phrase, ivrdtya-a teal dtdaaicaXiai ; but the construction of iari is 
questionable. Some connect it with the OVK tv n^ nvi } or even 
with Trpog -ArjOfj,ovriv rrjg oapno^ as, particularly, Bahr still does. 
But Bohrner justly observes that then icri would be entirely out 
of place, not only separated from the words with which it was espe 
cially connected, but also unduly separating unva from the 
Kxovra belonging to it. In the second place, the connexion to-l 
77/l7?<7/zoi ??v rift cap/tog would, it is true, afford a good sense, but as 
connected with OVK tv n^ nvi } yields a less appropriate meaning, 
" these precepts are not exactly in a certain honour, have no di 
rect significance." Who can persuade himself that Paul would 


have declared himself so indefinitely as to doctrines which he else 
where blames so severely ? The nvi along with rf/zg leaves no doubt 
that it defines more accurately the foregoing dfaidia o^arog. The 
only correct construction, for which, too, most interpreters by far 
have from the first decided, is that in which dnvd tan Aoyov HKV 
KXov-ra oocpiag are united. For /ioyog is here, as it occurs also else 
where, an antithesis to dvva^ig or d^deta (1 Thess. i. 5 ; 1 John iii. 
18). The \iiv is to be explained by the suppressed antithesis, " but 
not the substance of wisdom/ Ef now introduces the particulars in 
which this show of wisdom after the opinion of men declares itself. 
And first, out of the three points produced, as respects iOeXoOpriattda, 
the word is found in the classics not at all, and in the later Chris 
tian writers is, we may presume, borrowed from Paul. We are, 
therefore, in interpreting this word, formed probably by Paul him 
self, obliged to have recourse to its etymology. The numerous 
words compounded with t-0eA have a two-fold meaning : they con 
vey the idea either of what is voluntary, self-made, or of what is 
simulated, self-pleasing. Accordingly, &6sko6pjj0Keia may mean " a 
self-invented, arbitrarily-contrived worship," as a contrast to that 
ordained by God. Thus Suidas explains the term, ids^odprjaicei by 
16 it,) de^ijfia-i oj3et TO donovv. Or iOeA,o6pT)OKeia may mean " a self- 
pleasing, hypocritical worship," as Theophylact explains ?/ vironpi- 
vofiKvrj evkafieia iv ry 6pt]oiceia. The parallel passage, ver. 18, 
decides for this latter explanation, as our passage undoubtedly 
conveys a reference to the OK^WV iv dprionda ~&v ayyeXwv there. In 
the same passage (ver. 18) is also found the second of the three par 
ticulars, in which the apparent wisdom of the false teachers shews 
itself* the Tan&VQ$poovvri t i. c., here too the hypocritical humility, 
which acts as if it dares not draw near to God. And thirdly, in 
fine, the d^eidia ou^a-os is mentioned, i. c., the rigorous asceticism 
which deals unmercifully with the body as a dungeon of the soul. 
This is especially adapted to create the appearance of wisdom 
and godliness, because it represents itself as an abnegation of what 
is earthly, as a mastery over the desires ; and yet such self-chosen 
abnegation is exactly calculated to make the old man strong. The 
more accurately to define the preposterousness of this asceticism, 
Paul further adds, ovtc iv ripy rtvi } where only oa>[MTog can be sup 
plied. These words point to the doctrine, that to the body, as the 
temple of the Holy Spirit, a relative honour and care, determined 
by its position towards the Spirit, are due ; that, therefore, the 
withholding that care is not holiness, but sin. To construe the 
last words, rrpbg irkr]a[j,ov?]v rijg aapicog with the directly-foregoing ovn 
KV ~tpj rivi } and refer them to the satisfying of the body, as if the 
sense were, " without shewing the body a certain honour, so that 
the flesh is satisfied" cannot possibly recommend itself. Neither 
VOL. V. 15 


does Trp6(; admit of that connexion, nor is it conceivable that odpg and 
crwjua should have been so exchanged. Even the difference between 
those two words leads to the opinion that odp^ has here the ideal 
meaning, " sinful nature," whence arises this pertinent meaning of 
the words, one that accords also with experience, that outward abne 
gation and chastising of the body may yet afford nourishment to sin- 
fulness, in that they, as proceeding from one s own strength, beget 
conceit and pride in the mind. All abnegation possesses value only 
when it is done for Christ s sake, and thus is born of faith in him. 
and love to him. (See at Matth. x. 39.) 


(III. 1 IY. 18.) 

(iii. 1-17.) 

SEVEKAL critics and interpreters connect chap. iii. 1-4 also with 
what precedes, and allow the hortatory part to begin only with ver. 
5 ; but the vsKpuaare ovv in ver. 5 is nothing but the resumption of 
ver. 1, inasmuch as what is here predicated is predicated there, only 
expressed from the negative point of view. Thus in point of fact, 
we directly seek what is above when we mortify what belongs to 
the earth. Therefore the hortatory part must begin with the third 

Vers. 1, 2. With a retrospective reference to ii. 12, Paul con 
ceives his readers, and in them all believers, as risen with Christ. 
Now, as the Kedeemer, who rose in the body, ascended into heaven 
also in the body, because he belonged no longer to the earth, so also 
must those risen in the Spirit tend towards things above with all 
their thoughts .and in all their ways, for there is the magnet wkich 
attracts them to itself, viz., Christ, who sits at the right hand of 
God, i. e., takes, part in the government of the world, who is there 
fore the Lord, and, as such, must alone be the object of aspiration. 
(On the formula itaOrjefdai iv dsgia TOV Qeov see at Matth. xxvi. 62, 
seq. In the antithesis rd aw and rd em ri\^ yrjg the latter phrase is 
to be regarded as merely equivalent to rd Karu ; but, no doubt, hea 
ven and earth, above and below, have here their reference to the 
contrast of the spiritual and pure with the material and impure 
[compare ver. 5], without, however, placing the origin of evil in 
matter as such. We need not observe that it is improper at rd avw 
to supply ayafla, for the connected ov obliges us to refer it to the 
locality of heaven. Between fyrelv and Qpovelv here the distinction 
is to be supposed that fanveiv denotes the state, ^rdv having passed 
over altogether into the disposition.) 

Vers. 3, 4. The necessity of aspiring after the heavenly and 
pure is further grounded- on the assertion that they as dead (in the 
old man) can no more be turned towards earthly things, in that the 


susceptibility for such is wanting. Their real life is now hidden with 
Christ in God ; all their aspirations, therefore, must be directed to 
wards Divine things. The life of believers is called hidden, inas 
much as it is inward, and the outward does not correspond with it. 
The believer bears a twofold life ; outwardly poor, weak, and in 
shame : inwardly, filled with Divine life and heavenly peace, as Paul, 
2 Cor. vi. 8, seq., so beautifully describes it by a series of antitheses. 
In like manner the Redeemer, dying on the cross the most despised 
and unvalued of all men, was at the same time the victor over all the 
foes of the spiritual world. (See on Col. ii. 15.) The KKKpvnrai kv rw 
9ew must not be stripped of its force by the translation, " is known to 
God alone." God is rather conceived of here as the element into whose 
essence the faithful, like Christ himself, are taken up, and in which 
they are concealed, so that no one can penetrate into this element of 
life, as God is called and is 0w? ola&v dnpoatrov, dwelling in light un 
approachable (1 Tim. vi. 16). But when Christ shall manifest his 
glory which he has of the Father (John xvii. 24), viz., on the day of 
his appearance, then the faithful too will be made manifest with him 
in their glory which Christ has given them (John xvii. 22). As such 
a one who has communicated his glory to us, which is his essence 
and life itself, Christ is called ?) ?) %wv, Christ in us. The expres 
sion must, therefore, not be resolved into the more general idea, 
" author of our life." No, he is the element itself of the spiritual 
life. He lives in us and we in him. (In ver. 4 the reading ?} 
%wv is, with Griesbach, Lachmann, and others, to be preferred, on 
the authority of C.D.E.F.G., to the usual one, ?} vptiv. As at the 
end of ver. 4 the second person again appears, i]^&v might easily be 
changed into v/j.&v. ) 

Yer. 5. The exhortation of vers. 1 and 2, rd dvu fyrEire, p] ra 
em TT/C y?ig (ppovelre, is now specially extended to individual points. 
But with the phrase ra inl rrjg y?fc, i. e. } ra tmyeia, " what belongs 
to the earth" (which is expressed at Tit. ii. 12 by KoauiKai imdvpiat), 
there is here conjoined the image of the body and its separate mem 
bers, as which the natural man is represented with his lusts and de 
sires. Those members, that is, lusts, which are here named are only 
cited by way of example, for ver. 8, where the exhortation is re 
sumed with another turn of expression, mentions other forms of sin. 
But it is remarkable that, whereas in ver. 3 it was d~e6dvere } ye are 
dead, Paul here writes veitpuaare, mortify; for the mortifying pre 
supposes life in the being to be mortified, and therefore is opposed 
to being dead. In a similar way Paul describes, in the Epistle to the 
Philippians, iii. 12, seq., the state of the believers as perfected, and 
yet directly afterwards says, " not that I am perfect, but I follow after." 
For at first Paul views the believer quite objectively, in the way 
in which God looks on him in Christ, afterwards in his subjective 

COLOSSIANS III. 6, 7. 229 

position, viz., according to the actual degree of eanctification, which 
is determined hy the gradual extension, through all the functions 
(members) of the man, of the life of Christ which is rooted in his 
" inmost being. Both modes of expression are necessarily grounded 
on Paul s doctrine of the diKatoavvrj Qeov and the hoyi&adai elg dc- 
Kaioai-vrjv. (See at Horn. iii. 21.) What is here expressed by venpovv 
rd [iK. kr\, mortify the members, is at Gal. v. 24 denoted by oravpovv 
ri]v adpna ovv roig TraO/jpaai ndi ralg im&vftiatc, crucify the flesh, etc. 
As to the rest, it is understood at once that the mortification of the 
old man is not to be achieved in one s own strength, but in the 
strength of the Holy Spirit. The exhortation is accordingly to be 
thus taken : " leave through fidelity room in you for the Spirit which 
mortifies the old man !" Among the members to be mortified Paul 
names, above all, carnal sins in their various shades, because, pro 
ceeding from them, all the remaining tendencies of human nature 
are poisoned. Whilst nopveia denotes the natural gratification of 
sexual desire, without marriage, duaBapoia refers to unnatural and 
secret sexual sins. On the other hand, Trddog refers to the dispo 
sition towards lust, to the lasciviousness of inward desire, as at 
1 Thess. iv. 5 it is united with Imdvpia. The distinguishing of 
lmQv\iia Kate?] from -rrddog denotes, it is presumable, the special mani 
festation of the more general irdOog in a definite case and for a defi 
nite object. But the explanation of the expression irXeovE^ia is 
rendered difficult partly by its combination with nothing but sins 
of lust, partly by the addition ijrig Korlv ddwAo/Urpeta. However, it 
has been already proved at Eph. iv. 19, v. 3, 5, that Paul uses the 
word TT^sove^ia also of greediness, in so far as it declares itself as 
pampering of the flesh, and thus promotes lust. The designa 
tion of -nXsove^ia as elduXoXa-pda is sufficiently elucidated, as ob 
served already on Eph. v. 3-5, by the circumstance that Paul at 
Phil. iii. 19 conceives the pampering of the flesh as making a 
god of the belly. In 1 Thess. iv. 6 irhsoveKTeiv is used of adul 
tery as a sin w*hich involves an inroad on the property of one s 
neighbour ; that aspect of the idea is of course inapplicable here 
on account of the addition I]~L^ KOTIV fiMwAoAarpeta. The article 
might seem favourable to the supposition that -nheove^ia designates 
here another vice different from the former expressions, unless the 
supposition that it has been put on account of the following "jng 
were more natural. 

Vers. 6, 7. In order to make the incompatibility of such sins of 
the flesh with the life in Christ as plain as possible, Paul causes it 
to be observed that the wrath of God comes upon unbelievers on 
account of these sins, therefore that every one who chose to give 
himself up to them would sink down to the level of the unbe 
lievers. The reminding them of their previous state before their 

230 COLOSSIANS III. 8-11. 

conversion to Christ is intended to assure them (the readers), from 
their own experience, of this truth, that God s wrath comes upon 
those who commit such sins, and to be an argument for the neces 
sity of ridding themselves of them. (With verse 6 compare Eph. 
v. 6, with verse 7 Eph. ii. 2. Ev olg is not to be taken as masculine, 
for surely they even yet lived among the vlolg r-7]g d-neiOeta^ as con 
verts, but as neuter: " in which vices ye too once walked." Z//v 
stands related to TTEpirrareiv as denoting not physical life, but 
the tendency of the man, the disposition, from which the con 
duct proceeds as the consequence. Ev rovroig is, with Lach- 
mann, on the authority of A.B.C.D.E., to be preferred to t-v 

Vers. 8-10. Here the apostle again takes up the ethical ex 
hortation of ver. 5, but in another metaphor : "Now (wvi is a 
designation of the state of conversion, an antithesis to rrors in verse 
7 compare Eph. ii. 11, 13) do ye too lay aside every sinful thing." 
AtTOTiOKvai, like dneKdvaaaOai (verse 9), has for its foundation the 
figure of a garment, which is laid aside when soiled in order to be 
put on again fresh and clean. (Compare verse 12, Zvdvaaads ovv, 
K. r. A., and at Rom. xiii. 14 ; Col. ii. 11.) Here too neither com 
pleteness nor exact order was kept in view by Paul in the enumera 
tion of individual sins which are to be laid aside. (On 6py// and 
dvfiog see Rom. ii. 8 ; Eph. iv. 31. The very general term nania has 
been already interpreted by the Fathers here as [ivrjotKaicia, i. e., as 
malice, in the sense of revenge, desire to resent injuries. BAaeK/^m 
is here, as at Eph. iv. 31, not speaking impiously of God, but all 
abuse and railing, as an effect of anger. Aio^poAoy/a, lewd discourse, 
see on Eph. v. 4.) Now in verse 9 all that is to be laid aside is 
called o TraAaiof dvGpuTrog, the old man, from whom sins proceed as 
TTpdfrig. (See on this point at Rom. vii. 21-23.) But the act of 
laying aside the old man has for its indispensable correlative the put 
ting on the new man, because only the creative efficiency of God, 
which calls forth the latter, mortifies at the same time the former. 
(See at Eph. iv. 23, 24.) On the description of the new man, as 
renewed after God s image, in verse 10, compare the remarks on the 
parallel passage Eph. iv. 23, 24. ~Elg Imyvuaw, scil. rov Qeov, repre 
sents the knowledge of God in its true meaning as the result of the 
renewal alone ; without Christ man is without God (Eph. ii. 12 ; 1 
John ii. 23.) H duuv rov Kriaavrog avrov, i. e., the image of God, 
the Creator of man, is, according to Col. i. 15, Christ, r\ ditwv rov 
Qecv rov dopdrov ; after him, as the prototype of man, the vlbg rov 
dvOpuKov, Son of man man is created. 

Ver. 11. With a retrospective glance at the Judaistic heretics 
in Colossas Paul sets up as the peculiarity of the new man, of the 
Christ in us, the circumstance that the national distinctions acknowl- 


edged and prevailing apart from Christ, and the religious differences 
occasioned by them have in him no longer any significance ; in the 
gospel and the kingdom of God which it establishes, Christ alone 
has value. We have already spoken about the sense of this passage 
at the parallel one Gal. iii. 28, 29. Paul does not mean that every 
distinction whatever between the opposites just adduced is abolished 
(for he immediately [at verse .22] allows the distinction between 
slave and freeman to subsist even for believers, and at Gal. iii. 28 
even man and wife are named among the antitheses which no longer 
hold good in Christ) ; but that in a religious point of view all na 
tions, all ranks, have through Christ a like access to God, whereas 
in the Old Testament the people of Israel had a more immediate 
relation to God than the heathens. And yet, even in the New Tes 
tament, in the outward church the position of the nations is not 
equal. According to Rom. xi., even after the appearance of Christ 
the election remains to the people of Israel, and the apostles, for 
instance, could not have been chosen from the Gentiles also. Paul, 
therefore, means primarily to describe only the internal state of 
renewal ; no outward distinctions avail for this ; no one is shut out 
from this favour by his outward position ; nothing in outward^ ad 
vantages can supply the place of, or bring about, the renewal ; Christ 
alone effects it in equal measure in all, and thereby unites all to 
unity in himself. Biihr finds in this passage the assertion that there 
is no distinction in Christianity between esoteric and exoteric relig 
ion ; but primarily the discourse relates only to this point, that 
the entrance into the church stands open to all, that all may 
experience regeneration ; all beyond this can be derived from the 
passage only by deductions. "Orrov refers to dvaitaivovaQai above ; it 
can therefore be paraphrased by KV r^ dvaitaivuoei. On KVI see at 
Gal. iii. 28. While "EAA^v and lovdalog designate the national dis 
tinctions, TrepiTopTJ and aKpopvoria point to religious diversity. But 
it is difficult duly to define (3dpl3apog and Zfevdrjg. Paul seems to in 
tend to conjoin four pairs, according to which these two terms 
also would seem to designate, one, the condition of higher cultivation, 
the other that of barbarism. But the attempts to extract from 
J3dp(3apo$ the signification of " civilized" must be styled utter failures. 
We must, therefore, give up the distribution of the words into four 
pairs, and look on J3dpl3apog, I.KvOrjc, as merely an amplification of the 
meaning of dn^o^voria according to local differences, so that the sense 
is this : " in Christ there is no distinction between circumcised and 
uncircumcised, be they even barbarians, nay, even Scythians, as the 
rudest among the barbarians, be they slaves or freemen." The con 
cluding words, rd rravra not cv Tract Xpiarog, are remarkable, compared 
with the simple, easily understood ndvrsg elg tv Xpmrw, all one in 
Christ, Gal. iii. 28. But the words, " Christ is all and is in all," are 

232 COLOSSIANS III 12-14. 

meant to declare the veiy same thing which the dq in the Epistle to 
the Galatians expresses, viz., that Christ, without the exclusion of 
any nation or any sect, unites all in the church, and so through his 
indwelling in all is himself all, on w r hich account also the community 
of the faithful is called in plain terms Christ. [1 Cor. xii. 12.] 

Yer. 12. To the negative exhortation (ver. 8) to lay aside the 
old man is now subjoined in ver. 12 the positive one to put on all 
virtues ; for the virtues named are again only named by way of ex 
ample. Now Eph. iv. 32, on which compare the Commentary, cor 
responds with this passage of ours. Paul, however, does not base 
this exhortation on the law, which demands holiness, but on the 
recollection of the grace just described, of which God has thought 
even them worthy. As elect and saints they must also walk worthy 
of their calling. (Compare Eph. iv. 1.) The phrases Ktc^enroi rov 
Qeov } ayioi not rjyanTjj.iKVoi, describe Christians as the spiritual Israel, 
which is formed of all peoples and nations. Thus in Isaiah xlii. 1, 
Israel is called ^fia, & inXen-o^ pov, and Christians are also called in 
the same way i]ya^r)^ivoi in the same relation. (See on 1 Thess. i. 
4 ; 2 Thess. ii. 13.) On the combination air/lay^m olK~ipij,ov see the 
similar passage Luke i. 78, which has on^dy^va i/ieovg. 

V er. 18. In a parenthetical clause Paul lays particular stress on 
the virtues named last, gentleness and long-suffering, in relation to 
the mutual forbearance of Christians, which might be needful for 
the Christians in Colossae, as the disputes on account of the false 
teachers had called forth much bitterness. Eph. iv. 32 forms the 
parallel passage to this also ; we refer to the remarks on that pas 
sage. (For nofifojv D.E. read jwejui/>tv, but F.G. dpyjjv. The latter 
reading is at all events a mere correction of transcribers ; but fio^?j 
is in meaning entirely equivalent to ^e/zi/>t?. But extrinsic authori 
ties favor \M\i$r\. On the authority of A.D.F.G. 6 Kvpiog is to be, 
with Lachmann, preferred to Xpiarog. ) 

Ver. 14.: Finally, Paul, again connecting his discourse with iv- 
dvaaoOe (ver. 12), names, as the virtue to be striven after above all, 
love, in which all else is comprised, which alone is of an eternal na 
ture (1 Cor. xiii.), because God is love itself (1 John iv. 8). In the 
closing words of the verse the reading kv6rr\-o^ is certainly an alter 
ation of the copyists from their erroneously making use, as a parallel 
passage, of Eph. iv. 3, where the discourse is of the unity of the 
Spirit. (Compare the Comm. on Eph. iv. 3.) But for ?JTig A.B.C. 
F.G. read 6, and Lachmann has, in accordance with his principles, 
put this reading in the text. But, notwithstanding the many extrin 
sic important testimonies, the less supported reading jJTig may yet 
be preferable here on intrinsic grounds. For o can refer only to the 
putting on (evdvaaadaC) of all these virtues ; but that this personal 
act should be called a bond of perfection (ovvdeapog -% 

. COLOSSIANS III. 15. 233 

is extremely improbable. But copyists might easily think that love 
alone was placed too high by such a designation, and that Paul had 
meant to call all the virtues named jointly a avvdea^og rijg Tekeiorri- 
rog, overlooking the fact that ZvdvaaoOat, the leading idea in what 
precedes, denotes a subjective activity. But love is here called ovv- 
6eo{iog rijg reXeior /jrog, inasmuch as it bears all the single phases of 
perfect life, all virtues included, as it were bound up, in itself. In 
like manner the Pythagoreans called friendship ovvSeo(wv -rraativ rtir 
dpertiv. In meaning, the phrase ?/ dyd-rj TrA^pwjua vopov, love a ful 
filling of the laiv, Rom. xiii. 10, is equivalent. This construction 
of the phrase is preferable to the reference of it to the unity of the 
faithful among themselves, in the sense, love is the perfect bond, 
i. e., it unites all perfectly, one with another (thus Erasmus, Me- 
lancthon, Michaelis, and others interpret), because that unity is first 
spoken of at ver. 15. For this reason too Eph. iv. 3 cannot be consid 
ered as a real parallel. But Storr s opinion, that avvdeapog -eleiorrj-og 
stands for rekeio-rjg itself, as, according to his erroneous view, in Acts 
viii. 23 avvdeapog ddmiag denotes ddiKia itself needs no refutation. 

Ver. 15. To the exhortation in ver. 12, ivdvoaade ovv } a fresh one 
is here annexed, but in the form of a wish, as the nature of peace 
requires. For no one can acquire peace for himself, though it fol 
lows, according to God s ordinance, the honest strivings after sanc- 
tification ; in that respect Paul might rank what follows among the 
moral exhortations. But peace, i. e., the sentiment of peace, mani 
fests itself ia the heart, as the centre of personality, and the seat 
of sensibility. All believers are called to the enjoyment of this 
peace, as they, being united in one body, the church (which Christ 
fills with his spirit of peace), are to have their share in its life. 
Then Paul begs them to let the inward peace be also outwardly 
perceptible in meekness. (A.B.C.D.F.G. read Xpiarov for the usual 
elpTjvr) Qeov } which reading the later critics have justly preferred. 
Christ, who is himself our peace [Eph. ii. 14], creates peace also in 
us. J5paj3eveiv is, first of all, " to dispense the prize of combat/ 
then, generally, " to decide something, to determine, regulate, rule." 
Philo often uses it, and as entirely = (3aai/(.eveiv. The proper mean 
ing does not admit of being here retained without violence, but 
the sentiment, " let peace reign in your hearts," is eminently ap 
propriate ; in it is couched the wish that peace may make itself 
known to the feelings so powerfully that all other disturbing feel 
ings may be subdued by it, may thus be unable to attain dominion 
in the mind. EKkijOyre iv hi av^an is an elliptical construction : 
" to which peace ye are called, inasmuch as ye all, united in one 
body, are to be made partakers of his life and peace." [See at Eph. 
ii. 16.] The form ev^dpLa-og is not found again in the New Testa 
ment. The word has the twofold meaning of " grateful/ and 

234 COLOSSIANS III. 16-21. 

" gentle, mild/ comis, blandus, synonymous with ev^dpiro^. The 
latter meaning suits the context better, for the summons to grati 
tude appears very incoherent here ; it has no place till the end of 
the section at ver. 17. But the summons to let inward peace be 
also outwardly perceptible in mildness and meekness is connected 
very properly with what precedes. In Eph. iv. 32, the clause yiveode 
etf aAAT/Aouf xpfjaroi, be kind to each other, answers to this passage.) 

Ver. 16. To these admonitions for the subjective wants of indi 
viduals an exhortation is now annexed with reference to the public 
worship of God in teaching, preaching, and singing. But what is 
necessary on this passage has already been observed at the parallel 
passage, Eph. v. 19, 20, which coincides with it almost word for 
word. Only in regard to the words at the beginning, which are pe 
culiar to this passage, we may doubt whether the dwelling of the 
word of Christ is to be understood of its inward indwelling in the 
heart, or of the dwelling of the word of God in the church. Under 
the latter explanation, fa v\tiv would be = fa \IKGU vp&v. However, 
I prefer, with Bohmer, the former, and consider these words as the 
necessary presupposition to the diddaKEiv fa nda^ aofiia K. r. A. For 
there only, where Christ dwells in the heart with the fulness of his 
word, i. e., of his Divine power, which, as such, is the principle of 
truth and pure doctrine, can a successful teaching and preaching 
take place, and spiritual songs be pleasing to God. (The readings 
ral<; Kapdiaig and Oeoi are, with Griesbach and Lachmann, to be pre 
ferred to those of the text. rec. } r^ Kaqdia and ttvpiov. ) 

Yer. 17. With the summons to do and say all in the name of 
Christ, and in gratitude to the Father, Paul concludes this general 
ethical part. On this passage, too, what was needful has been al 
ready observed at Eph. v. 20. With regard to the construction, it 
may be doubted whether rcdvra is a resumption of the ndv with rroteZ-e 
supplied, or is to be taken adverbially, so that ev%epurfavvrtg is im 
mediately subjoined : " in all that ye do thanking God." Storr 
defends this latter view. But it is clearly forced, especially because 
then iravra must be taken quite arbitrarily Travrore we therefore 
decide, with Bahr and others, for the former. 

(iii. 18 iv. 19.) 

Vers. 18-21 contain, in a few brief words, exhortations to wives 
and husbands, children and parents, which have been already treated 
of by us in the Epistle to the Ephesians in a more detailed form. 
(Here also, as in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the subordinate par- 

COLOSSIAXS III. 22 IV. 6. 235 

ties always precede those who are above thein. See at Eph. v. 21, 
seq., vi. 1, seq.) Only in ver. 19 the phrase ^ TrtKpaivsaOs -npb^ av- 
rdc, be not bitter towards them, which is peculiar to this passage, 
requires a remark. The word m/cpaa w occurs in the physical sense 
at Rev. viii. 11, x. 9, 10. Here it is used ethically. In the con 
struction with 77p6f it is to be taken passively, " let not your 
selves be exasperated against them." (Lachmann has adopted the 
reading -rrapop-yi^ere in ver. 21 ; but it is, no doubt, derived from the 
parallel Eph. vi. 4. Here KpeOi&re is to be regarded as the original 

Chap. iii. ver. 22, to chap. iv. ver. 1. The exhortations to Chris 
tian slaves and their masters which follow, have also been already 
discussed at the parallel passage, Eph. vi. 5-9, which corresponds 
almost literally with this, and to the remarks on which, in the Com 
mentary, we refer. 

Vers. 2-4. Before Paul passes on to purely personal relations 
(ver. 7, seq.), he utters a further exhortation to prayer, and particu 
larly an invitation to intercession for himself, and for a blessing on 
his labours. With this passage, too, the parallel one, Eph. vi. 18, 
seq., is nearly connected. We refer here, also, in general to the re 
marks there made in the Commentary. We only add to them what 
follows. In ver. 2 the preceding Trpoa/cap-epetre is more accurately 
defined in ypyyopovvreg KV avry. By "watching," here, no physical 
keeping awake is to be understood, but the spiritual wakefulness of 
the inner man, without which no perseverance well-pleasing to God 
in prayer is imaginable. But by KV Ev^apioria the more general 
npoaevxij is again more accurately defined. The Christian s prayer 
can never, in the consciousness of the grace which has befallen him, 
be anything else than a thanksgiving. In ver. 4 Lachmann reads 
& ov for & o on the authority of B.F.G. No doubt the ov might 
easily have been changed into o, on account of the position of \IVG- 
riipiov but the majority of the copies is for o, for which numerous 
MSS. also vouch, reading 616. As to the rest, dede/zat points to the 
fact that this epistle was written during an imprisonment of Paul s ; 
which, as was shewn in the Introduction, we are to refer to his first 
imprisonment at Rome. 

Vers. 5, 6. The exhortation to a prudent walking (verse 5) is 
found word for word at Eph. v. 15, to which we refer in like man 
ner ; only the restriction of the " walking in wisdom" (-epnraTetv 
ev ao0m) to non- Christians (-rrpb$ -ov$ &>) is peculiar to this pas 
sage. Eph. iv. 29 is parallel with ver. 6, as to matter, but not as to 
form. What is here expressed positively is there given negatively, 
thus : ~ag koyog oairpbg CK rov ar6[j,arog vfj,uv pr) etnropeveodG). The 
%dpic, which is here recommended in conversation, points most to the 
necessity of meekness ; the aXan fyrrvftfoof, seasoned with salt, which 

236 COLOSSIANS IV. 7-11. 

follows, denotes, on the contrary, the animating and seasoning Dual 
ity which should mark the speech of the believer at the same time, 
in order to be able to give every one such address and answer as be 
comes a child of G-od. At Mark ix. 50 it is said just in the same 
way, t %ere KV vavrolg dkag. (See at Matth. v. 13.) 

Vers. 7-9. To these verses, too, Eph. vi. 21, seq., is parallel. 
As we have already remarked in the Introduction to the Epistle to 
the Ephesians, Tychicus brought both epistles, that to the Ephe- 
sians and that to the Colossians. According to ver. 9, Onesimus, of 
whom particulars will be noted in the Introduction to the Epistle 
to Philemon, was in Tychicus company. (Ver. 7. Ev nvpi(,> refers 
not merely to ovvdovkog, but also to didicovog and ddetyoc. Ver. 8. 
The reading yvwre ra nepl Jjfi&v has such important authorities for it 
that we cannot hesitate to prefer it. Bahr thinks, as the same thing 
is put in vers. 7 and 9, it would be inconceivable that Paul should 
again have said in ver. 8 that he would communicate to the readers 
news of himself; it would be more reasonable to suppose he had 
here expressed the wish to hear through Tychicus something of the 
readers too. But that very consideration might easily cause the al 
teration of the original text. But a more accurate view also will 
shew that there is no mere repetition in these verses ; for in ver. 7 
Paul announces that Tychicus will make communications to the 
readers as to his state ; in ver. 8 he remarks that he has sent this 
his fellow-labourer expressly for the purpose of making these com 
munications ; finally, in ver. 9 he speaks not of himself alone, but 
of all that was occurring in Home, where he wrote. Here, therefore, 
he gives news of the circumstances of the church in general, not of 
himself alone. 

Vers. 10, 11. Paul first transmits greetings from some fellow- 
countrymen, born Jews, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Jesus with the 
surname of Justus. Aristarchus has already been named Acts xix. 
29, xx. 4, and his name occurs also Philem. ver. 24. Marcus name 
often occurs in the Acts, especially xii. 12, 25, xv. 37, 39, and he is 
also named by Paul at Philem. ver. 24 ; 2 Tim. iv. 11. We see by 
this passage that he was connected with Barnabas which throws 
light on the relation of these two to one another, according to the 
accounts of the Acts. (See the Comm. on Acts xv. 37.) It does 
not admit of being determined what the addition Trepl ov iXdfie~R iv- 
rohdg, concerning ivliicli ye received commands, refers to. It is to 
be presumed that the "commands" had proceeded from Paul, but 
it is wholly unknown through whom they had come to the Colos 
sians, and what they embraced. Mosheim s opinion, that they must, 
from the words immediately following, have referred to the reception 
of Marcus if he came to Colossee, is very improbable ; because neither 
would the plural (t^roAa^) have been used, nor would the command 

COLOSSIANS IV. 12, 13. 237 

need to be repeated, if the Colossians were already informed that 
Marcus was coming, and was to be well received. The third Jewish 
Christian from whom Paul sends a salutation, Jesus, with the sur 
name Justus, is known no further. Here we find that the name of 
Jesus is still given to other persons also ; in later times it was dis 
used in the church, out of reverence towards the Kedecmer. It 
seems striking that Paul designates these three alone as his fellow- 
labourers in the kingdom of God, as he in vers. 12 and 14 transmits 
salutations from several more, who must surely, therefore, have also 
been in his circle. We may presume, however, that the povot refers 
to the preceding ovreg KK Treotro^jg. thus designating these three as 
the only Jewish Christians who approved themselves to him as fel 
low-labourers in the kingdom of God, and so became a comfort unto 
him. For the majority of the Jewish Christians were his opponents, 
and prepared grief for him, instead of comfort. (Ver. 11. llapriyopta 
is found in the New Testament only here. Plutarch often uses the 
term in the sense " comfort.") 

Vers. 12, 13. To this are annexed salutations from Gentile 
Christians, and first from Epaphras, the apostle of the Colossians 
and of the Christians of the neighbouring cities of Laodicea and Hie- 
rapolis. (See on Col. i. 7.) Epaphras was a Colossian born. (6 t 
t^aw), and therefore took an especially hearty interest in his nearer 
and more remote countrymen. This interest declared itself by ear 
nest prayer for them, which Paul compares with a spiritual wrestling 
and a labouring. The object of this supplication of Epaphras is the 
spiritual welfare of the Christians there : they are, as being perfect, 
to stand fast (with an allusion to the fight which the faithful have 
to wage in the world), and as r^rJ^p^ivoi iv rravrl Oefajjmri rov Qeov. 
It is very intelligible that the transcribers stumbled at these words; 
in fact A.C.D.F.G. read TOTrAT/po^opT^ei-w, which Lachmann, in ac 
cordance with his critical principles, was obliged to receive into the 
text. But precisely the circumstance that 7re~Xrjpo(j)opr]fivoi is better 
and more easily connected with the arijre r&aoi makes it more 
probable that it is a correction of the copyists. If, however, we 
compare at Col. i. 9, iva TrXrjpteOfjre TT\V irciyvuaiv rov 6eM]^aroc, it is 
conceivable how Paul could employ along with reAetcu the term ire- 
TrA^pwfitVot. To be filled but defines more closely perfection, as the 
being filled with the Holy Ghost is meant, by which alone man is 
made perfect. The words KV -navri OeAijfian rov Qeov, in all the will 
of God, connect themselves quite naturally with Trenhrjpunevoi. For 
the interpretation defended by Ba hr, " by means of, or by virtue of, 
the whole will or decree of God/ is forbidden by the use of nav. 
The whole will of God has unmistakably its reference to the ideas 
of perfection and of the being filled, in which it arrives at fulfilment. 
The connexion of n-^povodat, with KV has no difficulty ; at Eph. v. 18 

238 COLOSSIANS IY. 14, 15. 

we read nfypovoOs KV Trvet^cm, and we see no reason why that pas 
sage should be translated, with Biihr, " through the Spirit." Being 
filled by or through anything presupposes a being in that element, 
and accordingly TrXqpovodai is united immediately with tV. But the 
referring of TrXrjpovaOai here to the will, rests upon the view that God s 
will is one with his Spirit and Essence ; " to be filled with the whole 
will of God" is to be made capable, through the Spirit, of executing 
the will of God in every relation. The two cities which Paul names 
in ver. 13 as near Colossse are both situated in Phrygia. Laodicea, 
situate on the Lycus, was a very considerable city, to the church of 
which one of the seven epistles in the Eevelation is addressed. 
(See Kev. iii. 14.) Hierapolis was only a small place, but has be 
come celebrated in the ancient history of the church by means of 
the well-known bishops of the church there, Papias and Claudius 

Vers. 14, 15. Further salutations are delivered from Luke and 
Demas. It has been doubted whether the Luke named here is the 
Evangelist ; for it has been said Paul meant by the designation 6 
Zarpo^-, the physician, to distinguish this Luke from the well-known 
Evangelist, whom Paul, at 2 Tim. iv. 11 designates by no addition. 
But Bengel has already pertinently remarked in opposition to this, 
that in an Epistle to Timothy the person of Luke required no more 
definite designation, but it did in an epistle to a whole church, 
among the members of which might be many who did not know 
Luke more nearly. Therefore, not to multiply without reason the 
persons of the same name mentioned in the Bible, we take this 
Luke for the Evangelist. As to the rest, tradition differs with respect 
to his calling : it is well-known that he is also designated as a painter ; 
however, the two might be conceived as combined in him, the physi 
cian s art and love for painting, if the account of his works as a 
painter did not belong to too late a time to be able to lay claim to 
credibility. (See Winer s Encyclopedia in voc.) Demas, contracted 
from Demetrius, is brought in without an epithet of praise ; as he, 
according to 2 Tim. iv. 10, again fell in love with the world, and 
forsook Paul, it is not improbable that Paul even then was not quite 
satisfied with him, when he wrote to the Colossians. Paul delivers 
salutations to the brethren of the neighbouring chuch in Laodicea, 
and especially to Nymphas and the Christians who were associated 
with the church which was in his house. (See on KK/tkrjaia /car OIKOV 
at Rom. xvi. 5.) As to the rest, this man is not to be supposed in Co- 
lossse, but in Laodicea ; at Colossse Philemon had the church in his 
house (Philem. ver. 2). True, there might have been several places 
of meeting in Colossse ; but the way in which Paul proceeds (ver. 
16) to speak of the church in Laodicea makes it extremely probable 
that Nymphas belonged to it and not to the Colossian church. (The 


reading avrfjg for avrov, wliicli B. defends, Lachmann has received 
into the text ; A.C. read avr&v. This latter reading is explained 
only by the hypothesis that avr&v was joined to t-nnX^aiav, and re 
ferred to the brethren in Laodicea. A.vrrjg, however, doubtless arose 
from the circumstance that Nymphas was erroneously looked on as 
a woman s name. 

Ver. 16. In what follows Paul further orders, that, when this 
epistle has been read among the Oolossians, it may be imparted to 
the Christians in Laodicea also, and vice versa. We see from this 
that the epistles to churches were not merely read by the presbyters, 
but also publicly read out in the congregations. This is probable 
even of private epistles from apostles (see Tit. iii. 15), if they hap 
pened to oifer a more general interest. In 1 Thess. v. 27 Paul ex 
pressly declares that his epistle is to be read out before all of the 
brethren. As to the rest, the reciprocal communication of the 
apostolical epistles, recommended in this passage, explains the rapid 
spread of the writings of the New Testament into all the churches 
of the then existing world, and their great multiplication by means 
of copies. The regular public reading of the New Testament writ 
ings in the congregations of the faithful first came into use much 
later, of course ; in the beginning they used only the books of the 
Old Testament for that purpose. 

The closing words of this verse alone occasion difficulty. The 
reading KV for KK is supported by too few^ vouchers to be taken into 
the text. But the words 77 t-^aToA?} t/c Aaoducdag admit of being 
variously explained. However, the context clearly shews that the 
discourse here is of an Epistle of Paul s ; we must not, therefore, re 
fer these words to an epistle of the Laodiceans to Paul ; but as Paul 
himself never was in Laodicea, the words cannot express, either, 
" read also that epistle which I have written from Laodicea." The 
KK is rather chosen by Paul only because he put himself in the posi 
tion of the Colossians receiving the epistle. It came from Laodicea 
for them; it therefore was for them // imoToXrj 77 KK Aaodiiceiag, though 
it was addressed by Paul to the Christians in Laodicea. But is the 
Epistle here meant that to the Ephesians, which might be intended 
for Laodicea also as an encyclical epistle, or is it to be considered as 
distinct from the Epistle to the Ephesians, and therefore as lost ? 
This question has already been decided in the Introduction to the 
Epistle to the Ephesians. The Epistle to the Laodiceans mentioned 
here by Paul must be regarded as a lost composition, and by no 
means identical with the Epistle to the Ephesians. For, even 
granting that the Epistle to the Ephesians was, as an encyclical 
epistle, addressed to the church in Laodicea conjointly with that in 
Ephesus, still the charge of Paul here in ver. 16 scarcely admits of 

240 COLOSSIANS IV. 17-19. 

being interpreted of that epistle : for, considering the near affinity 
of the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, Paul could 
have no special occasion further to refer the Christians in Colossco 
expressly to the Epistle to the Ephesians. Surely, too, the same 
Tychicus brought both epistles ; according to this it is hardly prob 
able that the circular epistle could have come so quickly from Ephe- 
sus to Laodicea that Paul could, in his Epistle to the Colossians, 
designate it as already to be found in Laodicea. 

Ver. 17. Nothing justifies us in placing Archippus, to whom 
Paul gives a special charge, in Laodicea. Philem. ver. 2 shews that 
he was in Colossa? ; from his being associated with Philemon and 
his wife it is possible that Archippus was Philemon s son. The ex 
hortation given him here is most simply explained on the assump 
tion that the ecclesiastical office, the- worthy fulfilment of which 
Paul here recommends, had but a short time previously been com 
mitted to Archippus. For, after the way in which Archippus is 
named at Philem. ver. 2, we cannot well imagine any blame of him 
here. Inasmuch, however, as the exhortation is bestowed on Archip 
pus through the medium of the church, it reminds him more forcibly 
of his obligation towards the church which he serves. Conclusions 
as to the relation of ministers to the churches, and as to the depend 
ence of the former on the latter, in the time of the apostles, can in 
no wise be made from this passage. (In itself Siaitovia might mean 
every form of ministry in the church, but from Philem. vers. 1, 2 it 
is probable that Archippus was deacon in Colossse, while Philemon, 
his father, was bishop there. The tV #upto> is to be joined with 
uapt /la/fef, with which word it is especially connected by its position. 
As to the construction of the clause, it is far-fetched, with Bohmcr 
to combine jSAe-e rr]v 6tattoviav } and to take the words in the sense, 
" fix your eyes on the ministry !" Bkt-eiv occurs so nowhere in the 
New Testament except Phil. iii. 2. It is better with Biihr and 
others, to suppose that pXe-neiv is here used in the sense, " to be on 
one s guard, to look before one," which is usual in the New Testa 
ment. With this construction avrijv at the end of the verse is then, 
accordiog to the Hebraizing style, redundant, since diaiioviav depends 
on 77/l?7pot.) 

Vers. 18, 19. The salutation by his own hand shews that Paul, 
as usual, dictated the epistle ; from Col. i. 1, Timothy was, we may 
suppose, the writer of the Epistle to the Colossians. The addition, 
however, is not merely an expression of Paul s love, but is also a 
mark of the authenticity of the epistle. (See the remarks on 2 
Thess. ii. 2, iii. 17.) In the request, fivTjfiovevETK pov -<2v cJe^aiv, we 
are not to suppose assistance in money, but aid by supplication ; 
and that, too, partly by prayer for patience and other Christian 


virtues, partly for a speedy deliverance from bonds. That Paul 
hoped for a speedy deliverance when he wrote this epistle is clearly 
shewn hy Philem. ver. 22. True, there has already been above, Col. 
iv. 3, a mention of supplication for Paul, but merely in respect to 
his labours in the ministry, not in respect to his personal condition. 

The usual blessing, 77 #o/wf peO v^tiv^ finally closes the epistle. 
VOL. V 16 





THE city of Thessalonica in Macedonia was originally called 
Therrnse ; it first received the name of Thessalonica from Cassander. 
On the conquest of Macedonia by the Komans it was fixed on for 
the chief city of the second district of that province, and, as such, 
was the seat of the Eoman authorities.* The city now bears the 
name of Salonichi. As early as at the time of the Eoman dominion 
there dwelt a numerous body of Jews at Thessalonica, as is still the 
case, because, being situated on a fine gulf, it carried on an extensive 
commerce. To this body of Jews many Gentiles of consideration., 
especially women, had united themselves as proselytes. (Acts xvii. 
1, seq.) Now, when Paul, about the year 53, visited Thessalonica 
with Silas, on his second missionary journey, f he came on three suc 
cessive Sabbaths into the synagogue there, and shewed from the pro 
phecies of the Old Testament that Jesus of Nazareth was the Mes 
siah. The space of a few weeks sufficed to assemble the church in 
Thessalonica ; a remarkable testimony to the Divine power which 
manifested itself in the labours of Paul. It is true, Schott thinks 
the three Sabbaths mentioned in Acts xvii. 2 related merely to his 
labours among the Jews, and that it is to be presumed Paul had 
laboured a longer time among the Gentiles. But, according to the 
representation of the Acts, the tumult of the Jews, which drove 
Paul out of Thessalonica, followed immediately on the third Sab 
bath ; there is no mention at all of special labours of Paul merely 
among the Gentile inhabitants of Thessalonica. To Schott s argu 
ment that Paul worked at his craft in Thessalonica (1 Thess. ii. 9 ; 
2 Thess. iii. 7, 8), which he did only where he meant to remain a 
rather long time, we reply simply by saying that Paul seems, no 
doubt, to have had the design of remaining a longer time than usual 
in Thessalonica, but was hindered from doing so by the tumult. 

* See Tafcl s Historia Thessalonicas. Tubing., 1825. 

f See Schottii isagoge hist, critica in utramque epistolam Pauli ad Thessalonicenses. 
Jcnae, 1830, and Burgerhoudt de costus Christ. Thess. ortu fatisque, et prioris epist. consilio 
atque argumento. Lugd. Bat., 1825. 


Finally, the manifold supplies, of which mention is made Phil, iv, 
16, refer, not to the first sojourn of Paul in Thessalonica, but to the 
latter one, which followed on his flight from Ephesus (Acts xx. 1, 
seq.) Among the dwellers in Thessalonica who became believers 
but few Jtivs were found (Acts xvii. 4 : nveg i% avrtiv [soil. 
Lovdaiw verse 1] i-rrdoBrjoav) on the other hand, however, a great 
number of proselytes, especially many women of rank This success 
excited the envy of the Jews, who raised a mob which drove Paul 
away. The rioters assembled before the house of a certain Jason, 
with whom Paul dwelt (Acts xvii. 5); and, as they did not find Paul 
and Silas, dragged Jason along with some of the brethren before the 
magistrates. In their malice they here accused them of high trea 
son, in that they acknowledged another sovereign than Caesar, 
namely Jesus. For the rest, we perceive from this charge what 
the epistles themselves confirm, that Paul might in Thessalonica 
have represented Christ as the king of the anticipated kingdom of 
God. In order to moderate the rage of the Jews, Paul left the 
city, and went first to Bercea, then to Athens. His yearning after 
the Christians in Thessalonica, to whom he had only been able to 
devote himself so short a time, left him, however, no peace ; he 
made, probably from Bercea, two attempts to return to that city, but 
in vain. (See 1 Thess. ii. 18.) There remained, therefore, nothing 
for him but to send thither Timothy at least from Athens (1 Thess. 
iii. 1, seq.) in order to collect information as to the state of things 
there. Paul meanwhile betook himself to Corinth, and here 
Timothy, who brought with him the best accounts of the young 
church in Thessalonica, again met with the apostle. (Acts xviii. 5 ; 
1 Thess. iii. C.) Hereupon Paul wrote from Corinth the first Epistle 
to the Thessalonians, taking notice of the reports of Timothy ; its 
composition, therefore, falls within the year 54, or thereabouts. A 
very short time thereafter the second epistle was also sent off. (Cf. 
the general Introd. to the life of Paul, vol. iii., p. 434.) The Epistles to 
the Thessalonians are, accordingly, the earliest among the apostolical 
writings which have been preserved to us. They fall some years 
even before the composition of the Epistle to the Galatians. This 
view, which is all but generally received by the critics, has been re 
cently again victoriously defended by Schneckenburger (Klaiber s 
Stud, for 1834, part i. p. 137, seq.) against Wurm, who thought it 
necessary to set the composition of these epistles after-the journey 
from Corinth to Jerusalem, only hinted at by Luke, to be supplied 
in Acts xviii. 22. (Tubingen Journal for 1833, part i.) But Wurm 
has on his side again refuted with striking arguments, Schrader s (vol. 
i., pp. 90, seq., 164, seq.) utterly inadmissible hypothesis, that the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians were written during the three months 
stay of Paul in Greece (Acts xx. 2, seq.), and Kohler s, who places 


them even as late as the latest times of Paul s life, after the Acts 
(pp. 68, seq., 112, seq.) 

Now the first Epistle to the Thessalonians contains, like that to 
the Ephesians, entirely general encouragements to the life in faith 
and in love. Only in the fourth chapter (iv. 13, seq.) mention is 
made of a particular point which affords an insight into the special 
condition of the church in Thessalonica, and at the same time was 
the occasion of the composition of the second epistle. For, as we 
have already observed above, Paul seems in Thessalonica to have 
especially preached Christ, as King of the kingdom of God, and the 
hope of the setting up of that kingdom on earth. This the Chris 
tians there had eagerly caught up, but not without misapprehensions 
and mistakes, as being inexperienced in that difficult field. Their 
view was directed more to externals, more to the outward glory of 
that kingdom, than to the moral conditions of participation in 
it, and to its spiritual nature. Because of this outward rela 
tion to such hopes, it also happened that (as Timothy, we may 
suppose, had reported) the Christians were in anxiety whether their 
dear departed ones would not lose the kingdom of God, and those 
only come to the enjoyment of it who should be alive at the second 
coming of the Lord. Now Paul relieves them on that point by the 
assurance that the dead would rise first, and the living be, along 
\vith them, lifted into the air to meet the Lord. The time, how 
ever, of his advent, did not admit of being fixed, as the Lord would 
come like a thief in the night, They should, therefore, continu 
ally expect him, and be found watching as children of the light. 
However, these instructions by no means relieved the Christians in 
Thessalouica. On the contrary, symptoms developed themselves 
there which afforded reason to fear that the church would become a 
prey to enthusiasm. Probably Paul was indebted for the knowl 
edge of these errors to an epistle of the Christians in Thessalonica 
to him. He therefore replied immediately in a second epistle, in 
order to bring back those in error as soon as possible into the right 
way. For it is apparent from 2 Thess. ii. 2 that the believers in 
Thessalonica were thrown into great agitation, and that, too, not 
merely by pretended revelations and prophecies, but also by a fic 
titious epistle under the name of Paul, from -which they thought 
they might gather that the coming of Christ was quite near. They 
had, in consequence of those announcements, given up their handi 
crafts and callings (2 Thess. iii. 11), and went about in a state of 
religious bustle but real idleness, a proceeding of which, according 
to the first epistle (1 Thess. iv. 11), signs had shewn themselves 
even earlier among the Christians of Thessalonica. With regard 
to that error, as if Christ s coming were certainly immediately im 
pending (whereas, in the first epistle, v. 1, seq., it was only asserted 


the Lord might come at any time), Paul now details the necessary 
conditions, without which that coming would not take place. It is 
particularly the appearance of Antichrist which must precede the 
coming of Christ ; but this is still kept back by something. Before, 
therefore, this is removed the Lord comes not. This explanation (2 
Thess. ii. 3, seq.) is extremely important, because it is the only con 
nected communication of Paul s on the end of the world. We 
therefore obtain by means of it a necessary complement to the doc 
trinal system of Paul. Bat, if we compare these elucidations as to 
the end of all things with the intimations on that subject in the 
later epistles, all in these latter that can be referred to the second 
coming of Christ and the kingdom of God is thrown strikingly into 
the background. Paul seems in later times not only to give up the 
hope of living to see Christ s second coming himself (compare Phil, 
i. 23 with 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17), but also to have dwelt less in his 
teachings on the near proximity of the outward kingdom of God, 
and to have presented in stronger relief its spiritual aspects. We 
need not hesitate to assume that the experience of what misappre 
hensions that doctrine, preached with special prominence, had occa 
sioned in Thessalonica, brought Paul to this modification of his form 
of teaching. His dogmatical conviction remained unaltered ; he 
merely modified his manner of propounding it according to the ne 
cessities of his mostly Gentile auditors, who, after such experience, 
justly seemed to him but ill adapted to receive that doctrine pure 
and unclouded. Without concealing it in later times, he yet always 
presented it only in its subordinate relations to the previously settled 
spiritual foundation of the new birth, in which form no further abuse 
of it was to be apprehended. 



The first Epistle to the Thessalonians belongs to the few in the 
New Testament which have had the fortune neither in ancient nor 
in modern times to be attacked with regard to their authenticity. 
Even the most ancient of the Fathers use it as an authentic apos 
tolical production, and the cnrping criticism of the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries has also been forced hitherto to recognize its 
collective contents as genuine. It has not fared quite so well with 
the second of these epistles ; for, though it was clearly in ancient 
times recognized equally with the first, yet modern critics have 
thought they remarked in it suspicious elements. No one has 
yet ventured however, decidedly to deny Paul s authorship of the 
second epistle on account of those points. In fact, too, such weighty 


arguments have been adduced in favour of its authenticity* by its 
defenders, and such satisfactory solutions of the doubts which were 
propounded, that we cite only by way of notice the chief articles on 
which they have attempted to ground their doubts. J. G. Chr. 
Schmidt (Library for Criticism and Exegesis, vol. ii., p. 380, seq. : 
Introd. to the New Testament, vol. ii.,-p. 256) expressed first and 
most decidedly the doubts as to the authenticity of the second epis 
tle, which De Wette (Introd. p. 229) repeats with but slight ap 
proval. Schmidt insists on the following points : that there is no 
mention at all of the first epistle in the second ; that the latter is 
on the whole a mere repetition of the first ; that the author of the 
second lays a stress on his being the writer of it, as if he had a dis 
tinct purpose in it (2 Thess. ii. 15, iii. 17); that the mention of a 
fictitious Epistle (2 Thess. ii. 2) points to his own consciousness of 
having fathered an epistle on Paul ; that Paul himself could not 
possibly have thought of it, as he had written but two epistles, that 
to the Galatians, and the first to the Thessalonians. (For Schmidt 
supposes an earlier composition of the Epistle to the Galatians.) 
But these arguments are plainly one and all without any signifi 
cance, for, although the epistle is authentic, there is no absolute 
necessity for making mention of the first epistle in it ; the assertion 
that the second epistle is a mere repetition of the first shews itself 
completely untrue ; the first chapter only is of similar purport, the 
second and third are altogether independent. Of a distinct purpose 
in the writer to designate himself as Paul so much only is true that, 
on account of the fraud which was attempted with a supposititious 
letter, a mark of authenticity is added. But such an occurrence 
is by no means improbable, considering the great authority of 
Paul ; it does not affect this inquiry, whether he had already 
written many letters, or but few; the only question, is whether 
one might hope to attain an object by means of such a fiction 
under an apostolical name ; that this was possible in Thessalou- 
ica is sufficiently vouched for by the attachment of the Chris 
tians there to Paul. But the apostle had, no doubt, at that 
time even, already written many epistles, only we, by accident, 
possess none of the earlier ones. De Wette s question : " Did 
the apostle even then think of writing many epistles ?" (Introd. p. 
198) appears, accordingly, completely superfluous. The apostle s 
writing epistles was a natural consequence of his position towards 
the churches, not an act of reflection on his part ; if he did not wish 
to drop all connexion with them, there remained to him no other 
means, as they were in such remote countries that he could seldom 
visit them in person. Certainly the circumstance which Schmidt 

* See especially J. G. Reiche authentiao poster, ad Thess. cpist. vindieke, Gott. 1829. 
4, and Guericke, Beitr. p. 29, seq. , 


lays a stress on, that in 2 Thess. iii. 17 a mark of the authen 
ticity of the epistles is given, which, however, is in general not 
found in the epistles of Paul that we have, would be impor 
tant ; but it actually is found in 1 Cor. xvi. 21 ; G-al. vi. 11 ; 
Col. iv. 18 ; Philem. ver. 19 ; where it does not occur, cither spe 
cial circumstances made such a precaution superfluous, or the fear 
of the repetition of such frauds was lost altogether. Thus, then, 
but two arguments are left by which Schmidt justifies his suspicion 
against the authenticity of the second Epistle to the Thessalonians 
with some shew of reason. First, the doctrine of Antichrist, as pre 
sented in 2 Thess. ii., is said to be not in Paul s manner ; secondly, 
such a contrast is said to exist with the first epistle as almost seems 
intended to excite suspicion against it. But although the doctrine 
of Antichrist is not found propounded elsewhere in Paul s epistles, 
it is not on that account against Paul s doctrines. That could be 
asserted only if passages could be pointed out in the rest of his epis 
tles which were opposed to the doctrine of Antichrist. Such, how 
ever, are not to be found. Paul s silence on the subject in his later 
epistles is satisfactorily explained by the arguments already given 
above. But the other assertion, of contradictions of the first epistle 
looks somewhat comical by the side of thejprevious one, that the 
second Epistle to the Thessalonians is a mere repetition of the first. 
We do not well perceive how they can subsist side by side. But, 
apart from this, in what does the contradiction consist ? Nothing 
more can be cited than that in the first epistlo (iv. 13, seq.) Christ s 
second coming seems to be represented as just impending, whereas 
in the second (ii. 3, seq.) signs are given which must first intervene. 
The two, however, are very easily reconciled by the assumption that 
Paul imagined those signs might very quickly be realized. No doubt 
experience has not confirmed this, but surely Paul also freely admits 
that neither he nor in general any man knows the day and hour of 
that coming. As long, therefore, as no more tenable arguments 
can be brought forward, we may be perfectly easy with regard to the 
equal authenticity of the second epistle.* 


The first and longer epistle divides itself, as is usually the case 
with Paul s epistles, into two parts. The one reaches from chap. 

* It was not till after the completion of the work that Dr. Kern s essay (Tubing. Ma 
gazine for 1839, part 2), in which the spuriousness of tho second Epistle to the Thessalo- 
ijians is decidedly asserted, came to hand. However, this scholar founds his assertion 
entirely on his interpretation of the passage, ii. 1-12. We shall therefore shew in its ex 
position that those verses contain nothing which can lead us to infer from them a date 
after the time of the apostles. 


i. ver. 1, to chap. iii. ver. 13 ; tlie other from chap. iv. verse 1 to 
chap. v. ver. 28. The former is occupied more with general consid 
erations and purely personal relations ; the latter with special ex 

In the first part the first paragraph (i. 1-10) contains, after the 
greeting, a thanksgiving on account of the faith, love, and hope 
of the Christians in Thessalonica, by which they had become 
patterns for all believers. The second paragraph reminds the 
readers of Paul s first appearance among them ; how he in purity 
of intention had exerted himself only about theif souls, and, sup 
porting himself by his handiwork, had l}een a burden to none. He 
therefore praises God that they had received his word from his 
mouth, and in joyful self-sacrifice, like the churches in Judea, en 
dured willingly all the persecutions which came upon them (ii. 1-16). 
After this, Paul, in the third paragraph, expresses his longing to 
see them again, and remarks that he had made several attempts for 
that purpose, but had been prevented ; however, he had felt him 
self obliged to send Timothy at least to them from Athens, to 
strengthen them in the faith. ]S"o\v he had received through Tim 
othy the best accounts of them, for which he thanked God, and 
besought him to advance them still more in the life of faith (ii. 
17 iii. 13). 

In the second part of the first epistle (iv. 1 v. 28) Paul in the 
first paragraph gives exhortations to some Christian virtues (iv. 1- 
12); he then comes in the fifth paragraph (iv. 13 v. 11) to the 
question as to the latter days, and shews that the dead by no means 
lose the kingdom of God, but would be with the Lord at the same 
time as the living. With respect, however, to the time of Christ s 
corning Paul remarks that the Lord comes quite unexpectedly, and 
therefore his coming must be constantly looked for ; they should 
consequently walk like children of light, in order to be found waking 
and not sleeping (iv. 13 v. 11). To this are finally annexed, in the 
sixth paragraph, some further exhortations, with the prayer that God 
may sanctify them in spirit, soul, and body. A blessing concludes 
the epistle (v. 12-28). 

The second and shorter epistle contains three paragraphs, the 
first of which (i. 1-12), after the greeting, begins with the remark, 
how much reason he, Paul, has to praise God for the patient faith 
of his readers under all persecutions, by which God would make 
them worthy of his kingdom, on the coming in of which a punishing 
of the wicked, as well as a rewarding of the good, would take place. 
Therefore also he prayed continually for them, and wished that they 
might be filled with all good things, unto the glorification of the 
name of Christ. To this is subjoined in the second paragraph (ii. 1 
-17) the exhortation, not to let themselves be troubled by any pro- 


phecy, doctrine, or pretended epistles, as if the day of Christ were 
already at hand ; on the contrary, the man of sin must first be re 
vealed, whose revealing is however withheld by something ; when 
that is taken away, then he would appear ; but Christ would sub 
due him and make known his whole glory, to a participation in 
which they too are called. He must, therefore, exhort them most 
urgently to take fast hold on his traditions, and would beseech God 
to establish them in every good word and work. Finally, in the 
third paragraph (iii. 1-18) Paul calls on the readers to pray for him, 
in order to promote the dissemination of the gospel, and to save him 
from the violence of the wicked. To themselves, however, he ex 
presses the sure hope that they would act according to his exhorta 
tions, avoid all disorderly conduct, and especially after his example 
faithfully continue their outward labour ; he threatens the disobe 
dient with emphatical chastisement. A blessing concludes the 


The Epistles to the Thessalonians have been, proportionably, but 
seldom specially treated. This phenomenon is doubtless to be ac 
counted for from the fact that their contents have but little that is 
peculiar, and that the accounts of the last things, which alone im 
part to them their specific character, have till now exerted but 
small attraction on the learned interpreters. The most important 
separate works on these epistles are by Turretin (Basileee, 1739), 
Krause (Frankfort, 1790), Koppe (3d Edit, by Tychsen, Gottingen, 
1823), Flatt (edited by Kling, Tubingen, 1829), Pelt (Gryphis- 
waldiae, 1830), and Schott (Lips. 1834). A very copious and learned 
essay on all the interpretations of these epistles is given by Pelt, 
Introd. pp. xxxv., seq. 





(i. 1. iii. 13.) 

(i. 1-10.) 

TOGETHER with Paul, Silvanus and Timothy send salutations. 
According to Acts xvi. 1, 19, they had accompanied him in his mis 
sionary labours in Macedonia ; then they had at first indeed re 
mained behind in Bercea, but soon came after him to Athens (Acts 
xvii. 14, 15), whence Timothy was sent to Thessalonica, and met 
with Paul in Corinth, as has already been detailed in the Introduc 
tion. One of the two is probably the writer of these Epistles, Paul 
dictating to him, for according to 2 Thess. iii. 17, Paul had appended 
the salutation alone with his own hand. The addition iv 0w narpl 
KOI Kvpiu Irjoov Xpt,or& in the salutations of both epistles, for which 
at 2 Thess, i. 1 the fuller phrase, -narpl r^&v is read, is peculiar. For 
in several epistles KV Xp. I., it is true, is found (Phil. i. 1 ; Col. i. 2), 
not joined with ivKXTjoia, however, but with rolg dyioig. But in no 
salutation except those in these two epistles do we read KV Qe& Trarpi. 
Now it is a question whether the KV refers to the salutation itself, 
for instance with %aipre supplied (Winer s Gr., p. 129),* or is to be 
joined to ry innXriaia, with ovoy supplied. The absence of the article 
rq is in favour of the former; in favour of the latter is the apostle s 
custom constantly to unite the formula KV Xpicrrw in the salutations 
with the persons, never with the salutation itself. The latter argu 
ment seems to me the more preponderating that it is quite un 
imaginable that Paul should have left his beloved church in Thes 
salonica, whose faith he immediately rates so highly, without any 
epithet of praise ; the absence of the article is then to be explained 
by the fact that KKK^rjaia KV 6ec5, K. r. A., is conceived as a collective 
* The reference is withdrawn in the sixth edition. [K. 


idea. The last words, dnb Qsov -rrarpbg Xpiarov, are wanting in B. 
F. G. and other critical authorities ; however, for all that, even 
Lachmann has not ventured directly to strike them out, but has 
only included them iu brackets ; without them the salutation would 
be altogether too bald. 

Vers. 2, 3. In the usual words (Kom. i. 8, 9 ; Eph. i. 16 ; 2 
Thess. i. 3 ; 2 Tim. i. 3) Paul first of all expresses his thanks to 
God for his readers, of whom he makes mention in his prayers, while 
he remembers their faith, their love, their hope. In 1 Thess. v. 8, 
these three Christian cardinal virtues stand in the same order as 
here ; while at 1 Cor. xiii. 13 (see the Comm. there) love stands last. 
The latter collocation is more in accordance with the abstract style 
of contemplation ; in the concrete Christian life hope appears as the 
last and highest, because it is the connecting link between this 
world and the world to come. Each of the three virtues has, how 
ever, an epithet, intended not merely, as Koppe thinks, to be taken 
paraphrastically, but to represent these virtues in their practical exer 
cise. They are tpyov r^g TT/CTTCWC, Ko~og TT/O dyaTTT/f, vTropovf) rijg ekiri- 
dog. The two latter designations are intelligible of themselves. 
Kd-of TTfc dyaTT^g, labour of love, is meant to characterize love not 
as a mere beneficent feeling, but as a power which is active in self- 
denial and exertion ; in the same way VTTO^OVT) rfjg eh-xidog, patience 
of hope, describes hope as it is held fast and proved in combat with 
temptations to doubt. But the phrase Zpyov -rjg TTLOTEUC, work of 
faith, is difficult. Several interpreters (particularly Calovius, Wolf, 
and others), understand it as describing faith as a work of God in 
the souls of men, as it is, no doubt, to be taken at 2 Thess. i. 11. 
But there is nothing in the context here to lead us to lay a stress 
upon this ; the interpreter must rather be guided in explaining 
Zpyov rrjg Triareug by the analogy of the other two virtues named 
here. As in these the proving them in real life is insisted on, faith, 
too, is exhibited under the same aspect. In 1 Cor. xvi. 13 ; 1 Tim. 
vi. 12 ; 2 Tim. iv. 7, a fight of faith is spoken of, by which this pas 
sage is elucidated. For, though faith is a work of God in men s 
soul s, just as love and hope are, yet man bears not an absolutely 
passive relation towards it ; he has to fight against the faith-stifling 
power of sin in him and in the world. The phrase epyov rijg Triarsug 
is meant to denote that independent activity in the life of faith. It 
must not, therefore, be taken as exactly = epya r. TT., but trans 
lated, "labour or conflict of faith." For the effects, which proceed 
from the living faith maintained and increased by conflict, are 
particularly mentioned in love and hope. The whole passage, there 
fore, paints the independent manner in which the Christians in 
Thessalonica let Christianity become operative in them and can up 
hold it against all attacks of the world. The genitive rov nvpiov 


Irjaov Xpiarov is not to be joined with ifaidoc; merely, as if the 
sense were, " of the hope of the speedy coming again of Christ/ for 
this special working of hope cannot be alone spoken of here, since 
hope is taken quite generally, just as faith and love are. This geni 
tive rather refers to all three virtues, in order to shew that they are 
one and all derived from Christ, and are instilled into man by his 
Spirit. The last words of the third verse, however, Kfnrpoadev rov 
Qeov KOI ~arpb(; 7]p.tiv } admit of no other construction than with \ivr\- 
fiovevovrsg ; but the remembering, the thinking of, in God s sight is 
= evxapiareiVj or fiveiav rroietaOat, m r&v rcpoaev%<2v r][j,>v } so that 
thus verse 3 is to be considered as only a detailed elucidation of 
verse 2. 

Vers. 4, 5. This thanksgiving, continues Paul, is derived in him 
from the knowledge (el66re$) that they are really elect, and this 
knowledge again is grounded on the matter of fact that he was 
able to work so powerfully among them. The train of thought 
is, therefore, this, " I know ye are elect, for, where elect are, there 
God gives his Spirit also, in order to bring the election to comple 
tion." This certainly sounds quite prede stinarian ; but that Paul 
does not mean personal self-activity to be excluded plainly appears 
from ver. 3, where he insisted on that very quality. (On the import 
of election see particulars at Eom. ix.) Paul here means only to 
shew how he, from the way in which the Spirit operated in him at 
a certain place, drew a conclusion as to the disposition of the per 
sons there. Where it manifested itself powerfully, argued he, there 
must be elect ; where the contrary was the case, he concluded the 
contrary. Thus at Acts xvi. 7 the Spirit suffered him not to travel 
through Bithynia, because there were no elect there. (Yer. 4. 
A(5eA0oi fjyarrrjiiKvoi vrrb 0eoi;, or, as it stands 2 Thess. ii. 13, VTTO nvpiov, 
denotes the faithful as the true Israelites, as they are called in the 
Old Testament also. See 2 Chron. xx. 7. Ver. 5. The fo evayye- 
Xiov I UMV is = KJfovyfia r//zoji> rov evayyehiov, by which the elg -tytaf 
also is explained. See at ii. 9. As to the antithesis of hoyog and 
8vva\ii<; or epyov, see Col. ii. 23 ; 1 John iii. 18. The words, not tV 
nvevpari dyiQ real KV Trfa]QO(f>opip nokhy explain the dvvafug epexegetically, 
the Spirit expressing the objective aspect of the thought, the full as 
surance its subjective. On 7rA^po^op*b, 7rA.9]po^0ftu, see at Rom. iv. 
21, xiv. 5 ; Col. ii. 2. The last words, naOug ottiare, K. r. A., appeal for 
confirmation to the knowledge of the readers themselves. The oloi 
is, according to the context, to be taken, " in what power and fresh 
ness of spirit." By & v;idg all secondary objects are excluded, "for 
your own sake, for the salvation of your souls." 

Vers. 6, 7. Paul goes still further in his praise of the Christians 
in Thessalonica, by laying a stress on their having become imitators 
of himself., nay of the Lord even, in that they had received the word 


with joy in spite of much persecution. Persecutions can of course 
take place only when the faith has been embraced ; imitation, too, 
necessarily presupposes regeneration ; in the Si&adai Aoyov, there 
fore, is couched the abiding reception, i. e., the holding fast what has 
been received, rather than the first reception of the word. By 
means of this powerful, victorious faith, adds Paul, the Thessalo- 
nians were become a pattern for all believers in the whole of Greece ; 
in many other churches many might by the persecutions have been 
brought to apostacy. (Ver. 6. On niprjTal yiveodai see 1 Cor. iv. 16, 
xi. 1 ; Phil. iii. 17. Aoyof stands prcegnanti sensu for Adyof rov 
Kvpiov, T% dkrjdeiag. Comp. ver. 8. The %apd Trvevparog djiov is 
opposed to natural, sensual joy, which cannot, of course, consist with 
the 6?uijjtg. Christianity makes no such Stoical demands. Spirit 
ual joy does not even exclude, but includes, sorrow at the blindness 
of the men who persecute God in those that are his. See details at 
Matth. v. 11. In ver. 7 B.D. read rv-rrovg, which Griesbach has 
adopted ; but the singular, with Lachmann, deserves the preference 
for extrinsic and intrinsic reasons. For the singular could easily be 
changed into the plural, as several persons are spoken of. Macedonia 
and Achaia are the two provinces into which Greece was divided 
according to Roman partition. Athens and Corinth belonged, ac 
cording to that, to Achaia. See on Acts xix. 21.) 

Ver. 8. A pattern for others the church in Thessalonica could 
have become only when their faith had been heard of ; but this, 
continues Paul, was the case, and to such a degree, that the re 
port of it had spread everywhere even (kv -rravrl TOTOJ); where 
fore he had no need to say anything about it. According to this, 
there results, as a climax in the sentence, that with the one country 
(Greece) is contrasted the whole world, with which also the col 
location of the ov \LOVQV dXXd alone harmonizes. But it is un 
derstood at once from ver. 7, that not all men, but only all believers, 
in all countries are meant as those to whom the faith of the 
Christians in Thessalonica had penetrated. One might suppose, 
however, that still more was couched in this verse than the in 
formation that the knowledge of the life of faith of the Thessa- 
lonians had spread abroad even beyond the borders of Greece. The 
phrase ?/ mang vptiv tfeA??/U;0ev, it is true, cannot well be under 
stood of the spreading abroad of the faith to other cities from 
Thessalonica as the starting point ; with this meaning, the words 
. must have run, i\ rriortg d0 vptiv tfeA?//U;0ev. It clearly means only, the 
report of your faith has come to othre believers. But it seems to 
be otherwise with the first clause, d< vn&v K^rj^Tjrat 6 Xoyog rov 
Kvpiov. These words, viewed in themselves, can be translated, 
Christianity has spread from you to others, i. e., you are become 
efficient unto the further propagation of the gospel. But this would 


be a statement of wider purport than the mere spreading of the fact 
that the Christians in Thessalonica continued so lively in the faith ; 
and then the ov novov d/l/la would not accord with this. Moreover, 
it is not known historically that Christianity had spread further 
from Thessalonica as a centre. The course which Grotius, Storr, 
Flatt, Koppe, follow for the solution of this difficulty, but which 
Pelt has already justly designated as monstrous, is clearly quite in 
admissible. For they join ov povov with K^^rjrai, and dAAd with 
^eXrfXvOev, so that iv rravrl TOTTW would merely stand parallel with 
Macedonia and Achaia. The train of thought becomes quite sim 
ple, by merely taking the d</> I mtiv i% >i\,rjrai 6 Adyof ?/ Trian 
l$eXrfi.v6jev . Paul puts foremost the source of the report (d0 
and on account of the genitive KVOIOV could not add v^tiv to 
as he subsequently did to ma-i^. But the word of the Lord is here 
to be taken subjectively, as the word received by the Christians in 
Thessalonica (ver. 8), so that the passage is to be rendered thus, 
" from you (i. e., your church) as a starting point, not only has your 
reception of the word of the Lord become publicly known in Mace 
donia and Achaia, but the report of your faith in God has also 
penetrated to all countries." ( E^%iaOai is not found again in the 
New Testament, but at Joel iii. 16 ; Sir. xl. 13, it occurs in the 
sense, " to resound, to sound." Kat is wanting after dA/Ut in 
A.B.D.F.G., and is, no doubt, an interpolation, as it usually follows 
upon ov \wvov. Yet it is w r anting also at Matth. iv. 4 ; Acts xix. 
26 ; [See Viger, p. 522.] On Trio-rig npor see Gal. vi. 10 ; 2 Cor. 
iii. 4 ; Philein. ver. 5. A.B.C.D.E.F.G. read t^etv r judg for r)/m? 
eXfiiv, and it is undoubtedly preferable. As to the rest, the ware pj, 
K. r. A., is not to be understood, u so I have no need here in this 
epistle to say anything about it," but " so that I ha-ve no need any 
where in the course of my personal labours to make your faith 
known by recommending it, for all know of it already.") 

Vers. 9, 10. We need praise you to none, for men themselves 
have already related to me how ye have been converted and how ye 
walk. In the 6-nolog, TTW^, is expressed not merely the quickness, but 
also the radicalness of the conversion. (Ver. 9. Av-oi are all those 
to whom Paul preaches, who come in contact with him. How the 
copyists could alter Kepi vn&v for 7/jtw5v is very explicable ; i\\i&v is 
to be explained by the t cr\;ojuev following. Paul only means to say, 
" they shew of me inasmuch as ye have received me." Eiaodog re 
fers not merely to the outward entrance, but also to the access which 
Paul found to their hearts. Compare ii. 1. On emoTptyeiv see 
Luke i. 16 ; Acts xxvi. 18. The conversion is attributed to God, 
because Paul is thinking of the Gentile character of the readers. 
If Jews w r ere in question, TTOO^ rov KV pi ov would certainly be 
put. The absolute infinitives, dovXevsiv, dvaneveiv, denote the aim of 
VOL. V. 17 


the conversion, for which commonly the infinitive with elg TO is put. 
For, while in Kmarpfyeiv faith is couched, dov/teveiv denotes love ; and 
dvcqit-veiv hope, both which proceed from the former. Qebq &v (= 
*n cTtVx) and dhrjOivog (= , T^). [2 Kings xix. 4 ; Isaiah Ixv. 
1C ; Kev. iii. 14] form the antithesis to the dead unsubstantial idols. 
The expectation of the second coming of Christ, in which Christian 
hope concentrates itself, is named as the last point. At Phil. iii. 
20 drrEKd^eaOai stands for dvanvei.v. E/c rtiv ovpavtiv soil. Ipftdpevov. 
Pvea6(ii. = au&iv 2 Cor. i. 10. Opy^ lp%opvi) = ftK^Xovaa. See 
at Matth. iii. 7 ; Rom. ii. 5, iii. 5.) 

(ii. 1-16.) 

To the praise of his readers faith Paul subjoins a description of 
his labours among them. He lays particular stress on his purity, 
his disinterestedness, in the preaching of the gospel, and concludes 
with a sharp invective against the Jews, as against his and Chris 
tianity s bitterest foes, who had filled up the measure of their sins. 
No intimation is found that Paul in this description had in 
his thoughts Christian opponents of the sort that we became ac 
quainted with among the Galatians, and who might have been act 
ive in Thessalonica ; but probably Paul foresaw that the Judaists 
would not delay to damage him in that community too, and therefore 
in anticipation spoke out upon the points that were usually blamed 
in him. 

Vers. 1, 2. First, Paul reminds his readers of the way in which 
he originally appeared among them. " He had, it is true," says he, 
had even before in Philippi much to suffer ; he had also in Thes 
salonica itself taught in much contention, but still with joyful 
heart and in God s strength." These two verses are substantially of 
equivalent purport with i. 5. (Compare also 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5.) The 
phrase e ioodog ov Kevrj ytyore answers to the iv 6vvd[iEi, KV irvev^art 
aytw ; the -napp^aia here is the outward expression of the n^ipo^opla 
there. Of the previous sufferings and ill-usage of Paul in Philippi, 
Acts xvi. informs us. But the iv TroAAw dy&vt, which refers to 
Paul s sojourn in Thessalonica, can be referred at the same time to 
an outward and an inward contention ; but, according to ver. 9, it 
refers certainly to the former in particular. (Ver. 1. On eloodog 
see i. 9. npo-rrda^eiv is not found again in the New Testament. 
On -rrapprjaid&aOai see Acts xiii. 46, xviii. 26. The Iv r& Oew is 
to be immediately joined with it, as the Trapp^oia, boldness, open 
ness, is represented as founded on the living union of the soul with 


Vers. 3 ; 4. With the idea of the -apprjcia what follows is so united 
by means of yap that the purity of his intention, the consciousness of 
having no impure underhand designs, is a guarantee to the apostle 
that God s protection does not fail him. The ^apaKXrjcig is to he un 
derstood here in the wider sense of his labours in Christian teaching 


generally (Acts xiii. 15, xv. 31). Paul first denies of these that 
they ha<i an impure origin (KK), then that they were connected with 
an inherent perverseness (t v). IT/lar?/ is more accurately defined 
by 66X0$ which follows ; it denotes the state of being deceived, 
whether by the deceit of others, or by fanaticism, while doAof de 
notes one s own intention to deceive. AnaOapaia is not to be under 
stood here of sexual, but of moral, impurity; covetousness is 
perhaps especially pointed to in it. That such reproaches were, 
made against Paul 2 Cor. chapters xi. xiii. especially shew. Ver. 4 
contrasts the positive statements with the negative. " We speak 
( . e., work in our office) so as being approved, i. e., acknowledged of 
God, in order to preserve the gospel intrusted to us, not as pleasing 
men but God" But we should take this idea in a sense utterly 
contradictory to the doctrine of Paul, if we understood it thus : " I 
have been tried by God who knows all hearts, and have stood the 
test ; on account of my purity and sincerity God has intrusted his 
gospel to me, and in the same purity also I now preach it, pleasing 
God alone, seeking no man s honour." For, as (Rom. i. ii.) Paul 
denies to all men purity, so he denies it to himself also ; everything 
good in man is God s work of grace in him (2 Cor. iii. 5, 6). But, 
if Paul s disposition is something wrought in him by God, it seems 
obscure how he can say, " we have been approved of God as those to 
whom the gospel can be intrusted ;" it would seem, that the idea 
should of necessity have run thus: "as God, in his election by 
grace, has made us able through regeneration to preserve the gospel 
committed to us, we are also in a condition to labour for it in purity." 
But in the dedoKifidafieOa seems to be expressed not the being created 
anew, but the trial, and, in consequence of that trial, the approval 
of what already existed. We seek here in vain for explanation J roui 
the interpreters ; perhaps, however, the following remarks may 
throw some light on the subject. All positive good Paul attributes 
to God as its real source ; on the other hand, he derives just as de 
cidedly evil only from the human will as the final cause ; this will, 
now, can. in spite of the universal sinfulness, still be corrupted and 
polluted in a very different degree in different men ; the one may be 
so fur pure, that when he sees the light, he receives it as such, with 
out polluting it by a sinful taint ; the other, on the contrary, has 
added so muoh of his own guilt to his innate sinfulness, that he 
pollutes even what is holy. According to this, then, Paul can say, 
perfectly in harmony with his fundamental ideas, that God com- 


mittcd the gospel to him because he had found him approved ; not 
that Paul had been by nature good, but only that he was in a 
state to receive in purity the holy matter which was to be committed 
to him, and not to corrupt it by mingling his sin with it ; therefore 
on account of the negative good in him. Man in all his sinful- 
ness can still be sincere and upright, acknowledge good as good, 
evil as evil ; such upright souls God can alone make use of as la 
bourers in his kingdom, and as such, Paul represents himself here. 
(In ver. 3 ovdi is certainly, on the authority of A.B.C.D.F.G., to be 
preferred to ov-e } with Lachmann and Winer [Or. 56, 6, p. 437]. 
Ver. 4. As to the well-known construction of T^mcntv\iai see 
Winer s Gr. 39, 1 ; Gal. ii. 7 ; 1 Cor. ix. 17 ; Kom. iii. 2 Qebg 6 
doKifid&v rag napdiag, see Acts i. 24, xv. 8 ; 1 Sam. xvi. 7 ; 1 Kings 
viii. 39.) 

Vers. 5, 6. Proceeding from the ov^, &<; dv6p6noig dpeoKdv-eg, 
Gal. i. 10, the negative side (verse 3) is again taken up and further 
carried out. Flattery, covetousness, and the itch for glory, are ex 
cluded from the motives of Paul s labours. (In verse 5 yiveaOat or 
elvat t-v = s rrn, denoting " to occupy one s-self with anything, to 
liave to do with." Compare 1 Tim. iv. 15. Ev Adyw KoXatteiag 
is to be explained after 1 Cor. ii. 5, KV Adycj <ro0mf, flattery, which 
manifests itself in that discourse, in that form of representation, 
which labours to take from the doctrine of the cross its offence. To 
understand Adyof of guilt, or fault, as it occurs at Matth. v. 32, xii. 
32, which Pelt has defended last, has been already satisfactorily 
proved inadmissible by Schott. The iv Trpocpdaet rrXeovegiag is diffi 
cult. In no case can it be taken, with Koppe and Rosenmiiller. as 
a mere paraphrase of Trheovegia, neither can npo^aaig be taken in the 
sense of " appearance," for Paul means to declare himself free not 
merely from the appearance of covetousness, but from covetousness 
itself. We can only, with Beza, Grotius, Flatt, and Schott, so ex 
plain the words that the genitive contains the motive of the TTpo^aag 
in this sense : " I laboured not among you with pretences, the mo 
tive of which was covetousness," i. e., " I always went out openly, 
never made use of a pretence veiling my real motives." Qeb$ \nap~ 
rvg = tv.rn -is, 1 Sam. xii. 5. In ver. 6 t- and d-no are not quite 
synonymous ; the former denotes the immediate origin, the latter 
the mediate one. Winer s Gr. 50, 2, p. 365.) 

Vers. 7, 8. The aA/l ^yev^diyjtev ij-ioi (which latter word is only 
found again at 2 Tim. ii. 24) comes in aptly in opposition to the as 
sumption couched in the 66%av fyruv. Paul compares his indulgent 
gentleness, as exhibited in Thessalonica, to the care which a nursing 
mother devotes to her little children ; as she dedicates herself, her 
own life, to the children, so, says Paul, he also gives himself to 
them, as to such, as have become dear to him. Without the clause, 


& fidoei elvai, a>f Xptarov arroaroAoi, the connexion is clear 
enough ; with it the construction is confused, for which reason in 
deed Griesbach has separated it by brackets from the rest of the 
discourse. That is to say, we feel tempted to take tV pdpei elvai as 
= K7Tij3apKLv (ver. 9 ; 2 Thess. iii. 8) or icaraQapelv (2 Cor. xii. 16), and 
to refer it to the bodily support, which Paul as an apostle could 
demand, as indeed Baumgarten, Koppe, and Flatt, have taken 
it, after the example of Theodoret. But, taken so, the passage 
will not harmonize at all with what precedes, and if taken with 
what follows, a/Ua is plainly unsuitable. But, if we only take t-v 
ftdpn elvai in the wider sense, viz., of the authority and dignity that 
belonged to Paul as an apostle, generally, of which properties the 
privilege (i^ovaia) to allow himself to be maintained by the churches 
was only one consequence among several, a satisfactory connexion 
presents itself. For the dvvdpevoi, K. r. A., connects itself with the 
preceding fy-elv 66&v thus : " we seek no glory of men, although 
we should surely, as apostles of Christ (clothed with that exalted 
dignity), be in a condition to present ourselves with high authority; 
but we have not done that, we have made ourselves efficient among 
you with indulgent gentleness." So Vitringa,* Wolf, Pelt, Schott, 
have already interpreted correctly. (Ver. 7. Tpo<pog is properly " a 
nurse," here "a nursing mother," oh account of the rd Kavrfjg re/era. 
The w? civ, with the subjunctive following, is to be taken as utcunque. 
See Schott, p. 68. : Instead of lueipnftevoi the reading of the text, 
rec.j 6peip6f.ievoi is to be read according to the preponderance 
of the MSS. But the word is found nowhere else. The lexi 
cographers only have it, but perhaps merely from this passage. 
Theophylact explains it by 6[iov and eipetv } jirmiter alicui adhcerere. 
[See Winer s remarks on it, Gr. 16, 4 B 3 p. 92, seq.] Hesy- 
chius and Phavornius explain it by tmOvfielv. In any case it 
is, according to the context, quite synonymous with IftelpeoOat. 
The ov fiovov cU/la nai might perhaps give one pause, in so far as 
the gospel of God certainly seems to be more than one s own life. 
But Paul here considers the gospel not in its objective value, but as 
the gift intrusted to him for distribution. Now, the proclamation 
of the gospel is a duty to Paul (1 Cor. ix. 16), but the giving up his 
life is a voluntary act of love: the latter, therefore, is set higher. 
EyevrjOrj-e is to be read at the close of ver. 8 ; yeyevrjaOe, which 
Griesbach has in error put into the text, proceeds from such copyists 
as took evdoK.ovy.Ev for the present tense, whereas it is the imperfect, 
the augment being omitted, -as often in words compounded with ev. 
See Schott ad h. 1.) 

Ver. 9. For a proof of his pretensionlessness, Paul appeals to 
the fact, well-known to the Christians in Thessalonica, that he 
* See Vitringa s Essay on this passage La the observalt. sacrce., p. 852, seq. 


maintained himself there by the work of his hands, in order to prove 
a burden to no one. Of the reasons which moved Paul to this re 
nunciation of something appertaining to him as a matter of right, 
we have already spoken in detail at 1 Cor. ix ; 2 Cor. xi. It is only 
to be observed here that Paul perhaps finds himself impelled to lay 
this before the Thessalonians, because they had, in consequence of 
religious idleness, begun to abandon their handicrafts. (1 Thess. iv. 
11 ; 2 Thess. iii. 11.) (The expression [io^Qoq is stronger than Ko-xog. 
See 2 Thess. iii. 8. The Zpyd&oOai here is to be understood of 
the exercise of the handicraft, which has the object, among others, 
of relieving the Christians in Thessalonica from all the burden 
of his maintenance. On the construction of Krjpvaaeiv with elg } 
see Mark xiii. 10 ; Luke xxiv. 47 ; 1 Pet. i. 25 ; Winer s Gr., 

31, 5.) 

Yers. 10-12. As in this one point, so, too, in everything else 
respecting his blameless walking, and his faithful, fatherly labours 
among them, Paul appeals to the Thessalonian Christians own wit 
nessing. (Ver. 10. Ocmof denotes the relation .towards God [see at 
Luke i. 75], Stitaiug and a/iejttTmyf the relation towards men, Suta Mg 
from the positive, d^Tr-ro^ from the negative, point of view. 
Ver. 11. As Paul in verse 1 compared himself with a careful mother, 
so he now compares himself with a conscientious father who brings 
up his children to all that is good. The words TrapaKaAslv, -napa- 
livdeloOai, and [tapTvpelaOai, form a climax. [See Phil. ii. 1 as to the 
first two.] ~MapTvpeladcu = iiyn obtestari, " to conjure by all that 
is holy." In ver 12 J3aoikeia KOI 66^a stands as v did dvolv for j3aat,- 
"kda Kvdo&g. That Paul by this kingdom does not understand merely 
the spiritual kingdom of God we shall see further on. [Comp. on 
the idea of the {3aa. ~. 0., in general, the note on Matth. iii. 2.] As 
to the rest it is not implied in the naXtlv eig that the Thessalonians 
are already in that kingdom, they are only called to be citizens of 
it at some future time. In the connexion in which the apposition 
TOV KdAovvrog, K. T. A., stands with the elg rb Trepirrar/ iaat vftag d^/cof 
rov Qeov is intimated a strong motive for a serious, holy walk : 
" to walk worthy of God, who has, out of love to you, prepared 
such glory for you," therefore to love him again, who has first 
loved you.} 

Ver. 13. For the sake of this calling of them unto the kingdom 
of God (&d TOTO), Paul now anew (i. 2) expresses his unceasing 
thanks to God for their having received the word which he had 
preached to them, as it is in truth the Word of God. Thus Paul 
considers the receiving of the word of God not as an independent act 
of his readers, but as an operation of God s grace in them. To him, 
therefore, alone are thanks for it also due. The second half of the 
verse, uv Aoyov dvOpuirur marevovoiv, has the object of representing 


this word of God as a mighty principle, the receiving of which, ac 
cordingly, includes in it the possibility of the worthy walking. (The 
phrase Aoyof duofe Trap 1 fyi&i rov Qeov is difficult. The Aoyo^ duoTjc 
is, it is true, = dicovadeig [Isa. liii. 1 ; Jer. x. 22], but the position 
of the rov Qeov after ~ao I UJL&V is very strange. It is, however, 
to be explained by the fact that Paul considers the phrase Aoyof 
d/eoifc Trap rm&v as a joint idea, " the of us received, ? . e., the by our 
preaching made known to you, word of God." Aoyo? dvOpu-uv, in 
opposition to Oeov, indicates the origin, and at the same time with 
that the nature which necessarily passes from the source over to 
what proceeds from it. In this acceptation the Aoyo$- of which Paul 
speaks is not the mere doctrine, . e., not only the series of ideas in 
which Christ and his salvation are conceived and propounded, but 
at the same time with and in that series the fulness of the Divine 
Spirit which God has annexed to it. It is precisely, too, through 
the latter that the doctrine is then in a condition to work so power 
fully in believers in fruits of faith and of love. A/b/floif for a confir 
mation is found again Matth. xiv. 33 ; John i. 48. "O$ refers not to 
Geof, but to the joint idea A,dyo$- Qeov. For the middle form evep- 
yeloOat requires the reference to an impersonal subject. [See Wi 
ner s Gr., 38, 6.] Schott erroneously observes that evepyelaOai does 
not occur in the middl-e. Besides this passage it is so found also 
Col. i. 29 ; 2 Thess. ii. 7. He inappositely takes it as a passive : 
" which is made effectual in you." But the word of God is itself 
the principle of all moral activity, it is not made effectual by means 
of something else. In the participle rolg morevovotv the condition 
of all efficiency is pointed to : "In you who believe, i. e., because 
and inasmuch as ye believe and continue believing." 

Ver. 14. From their behaviour, in that they have been able to 
walk like the churches in Judea, Paul draws a conclusion as to their 
faith : " ye are believers, fur ye have undoubtedly imitated the 
churches of God in Judea,. which is possible through the power of 
faith alone." In this Paul has in his thoughts especially the perse 
cutions by which the Christians in Thessalonica did not suffer them 
selves to be made apostates from Christianity. The Acts inform us 
of the persecutions of the Christians in Judea, v. 18, seq., vii. 1, seq., 
viii. 1, seq., of those in Thessalonica, xvii. 5, seq. But, according to 
1 Thess. iii. 3, they had still been persecuted even after the depart 
ure of Paul. As to the rest, that Paul is here thinking only of this 
latter persecution cannot be concluded from the addition v~b rtiv Idiuv 
ovjj,(pv)iertiv } i. e., by their Gentile fellow-citizens. For, although, 
according to Acts xvii. 5, the first persecution of the Christians in 
Thessalonica proceeded from the Jews, yet the w r ords may also be 
referred to this persecution, inasmuch as the Jews stirred up the 
Gentile population. 


Vers. 15, 16. Paul, however, uses this comparison of his readers 
with the Christians in Judea, in order to remind the former of the 
old sin of the Jews, and their hostile feelings towards him and .his 
laboui s among the Gentiles. This diatribe is only explained by the 
assumption that Paul wished to draw the attention of the Thessa- 
lonian Christians to the intrigues of those men, with whom the Ju- 
daizing Christians stood entirely on a level, as it was to be foreseen 
that they would not leave this church undisturbed either. (Ver. 15. 
Christ himself represents the Jews as murderers of the prophets, 
Matth. xxiii. 31, 37. The -rraoiv dvOpuTrou; tvavnoi. reminds one of 
the odium generis Jmmani, with which Tacitus (Hist. v. 5) re 
proaches the Jews. As to the rest, it is understood without expla 
nation, that this is not asserted by Paul to be embraced in the 
Jewish national character, or in the influence of the Mosaical insti 
tutions, but solely in the perverted pharisaical spirit which had se 
cured dominion over the people. Ver. 16. Aa^rjaai stands prceg- 
nanti sensu for evayyeki&oOai. Now here Paul seems to say that 
the Jews entirely forbid preaching to the Gentiles, which Baur could 
employ for his strange hypothesis. [See my essay in the Stud, for 
1838, part 4.] But Paul clearly means here too that that preach 
ing alone is offensive to the Jews which would not lead the Gentiles 
to be circumcised ; therefore the preaching of Paul. That Jews 
had ever forbidden Gentiles to become Jews or Jewish Christians, to 
be first circumcised and then baptized, is entirely indemonstrable, 
and in itself improbable. In this bitter jealousy, which grudges the 
poor Gentiles even their salvation, Paul justly sees, according to the 
teleological conception of history, God s chastisement ; the Jews 
must by that means make their own sins, that is, the measure of 
their sins, full [sin becomes the chastisement of sin], and thereby 
become ripe for the chastisement. [We find the same idea Matth. 
xxiii. 32, on which see the Comrn.] The ravrore is unwonted. In 
the ordinary meaning " always" it is here inappropriate ; for Paul does 
not mean to say that the Jews had at all times filled up their sins, 
in the sense, i. e., that every generation had been equally godless ; 
but he clearly represents to himself the nation, as a whole, engaged 
in a course of development in sin, whose last and most flagrant conse 
quence is enmity against Christ in his saints. Therefore Bretschnei- 
der s view [in the Lex. in vocabulo] that -ndv-ore here stands = 
Trdvrui; or TravreAwc, may be correct. That learned man finds the 
same meaning at 2 Cor. ix. 8, but there the ordinary one is quite 
sufficient. But in consequence of this completion of their course of 
development in sin, concludes Paul, the wrath of God, i. e., his 
chastisement, has already overtaken it. Schott insists that the 
aorist tyOaae stands prophetically instead of the future ; this is quite 
inadmissible, for surely Paul in this passage utters no prophecy. 


The passage is rather to be explained by the apostle s fundamental 
view, that the latter days, and consequently also the manifestation 
of the Divine wrath, were already at hand. The sufferings, there 
fore, which even then under the dominion of the Romans came upon 
the Jews, Paul considers as beginnings of the great manifestation 
of wrath nearly impending, in perfect analogy with the representa 
tion in Matth. xxiv. which treats the destruction of Jerusalem as a 
type of the last judgment. This acceptation explains also the ob 
scure etf reAof. That is to say, it cannot possibly be = tandem, 
postremo, for which -ekog occurs alone. [^Elian, V. H. x. 1G, xii. 
22 ; Xenoph. Mem. ii. 7, 13.] Justice must be done the elg ; the 
phrase elg r^og can be taken only as " on unto the end," so that all 
that has now happened appears as merely the beginning. Neither, 
accordingly, can we supply avr&v, " till their ends," i. c., their anni 
hilation, but the end must be referred to opy??, and understood, as 
Grotius, Flatt, and Pelt have already correctly taken it, of the full 
magnitude of the Divine chastisement. " The wrath [of G-od] is 
come upon them, and will now work on to its full manifestation." A 
reference to the eternity of punishment, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, 
Benson, and others, insisted on finding here, as they take elg reAog 1 = 
tof or dffli reAcwc, is clearly not involved in the words. As to the 
rest, D.E.F.G-. have added Qsov after opy// ; this, however, is doubt 
less to be considered as only a gloss. 

(ii. 17 iii. 13.) 

Here should have commenced the third chapter, for with ii. 17 Paul 
makes a transition to a new topic ; between ii. 20 and iii. 1, on the 
other hand, there is no break in the ideas, but the most intimate 
connexion. For Paul, in what follows, declares his heartfelt desire 
to see the Christians in Thessalonica again, and describes how he 
has exerted himself to satisfy that desire. On this occasion he again 
starts with the figure of his parental position towards his readers, as 
carried out in the second chapter, and calls them "orphans," an. ex 
pression by which the abandonment by the beloved being, and the 
longing to see it again, are denoted most purely and forcibly. (The 
form d-op<pavi&aOai. is not found again in the New Testament. The 
word is commonly used of children in relation to their parents ; here 
it is employed conversely. Ilpdf naipov wpo^, usually rrpbg &pav } 
"for a short while." John v. 35; Gal. ii. 5; Philem. ver. 15. 
Paul could not know, it is true, whether and when he should see 
them again in general, but considering the nearness of the kingdom 


of God which Paul supposes, they would at all events soon find 
themselves united there. To the believer this whole temporal life is 
but a short span of time. The antithesis of Trpocrw-ro) and Kapdia 
merely designates the separation as a purely outward one. Comp. 
2 Cor. v. 12, x. 7. No particular comparison is to be sought In 
the comparative -epiaaort-pug here, any more than in the analogous 
Latin ones cibundantiiis, vehementius. Paul never uses the posi 
tive Treptffi/aif adverbially, but constantly the comparative alone. 
It only means "more vigorously than is usual," that is, very vig 

Ver. 18. This desire, continues Paul, had urged him personally 
to visit them. By the t-yo> fiiv IToDAof the plural is determined more 
definitely to the effect that his companions are not meant along with 
him, but he alone. Paul had twice attempted to effect it, but in 
vain. The formula K a I dna^ nal dig, "not merely once, but twice/ 1 
denotes, as Flatt and Schott have already justly observed, & definite 
number, whereas drra^ ical dig expresses an indefinite one. (Comp. 
Nehem. xiii. 20 ; 1 Mace. iii. 30 ; Phil. iv. 16.) The impossibility 
of coining to the Christians in Thessalonica Paul attributes to Satan. 
If we compare on this point the passage Acts xvi. 7, it is said there, 
" the Spirit suffered not Paul to travel into Bithynia." The ques 
tion arises how the two could be distinguished. We might think 
the two were only different modes of expression for the same thing, 
that of what Satan does it might always be also said, according to 
another mode of contemplation, that God does it, as Satan has no 
independent power. In a simply scientific point of view, this is, no 
doubt, entirely correct, but Paul s strictly practical mode of treating 
matters scarcely admits a reference to scientific abstractions ; the 
rather, that the phrase : ovu daoev avrovg TO irvevfia IT/CJOU, the spirit 
of Jesus did not permit them, points to an internal influence in the 
apostle s heart. In the case of external hindrances, through ill 
ness, accidents, adversaries, it might certainly be thought that Paul 
used " Satan has hindered me," and " God has withheld me," that 
is to say, by means of Satan and his influence, synonymously ; but 
not in the case of purely inward obstacles. As to these, W T C must 
assume in the apostle, as a man of practised spiritual discernment, a 
sound faculty of distinguishing between what was stirred up in him by 
his own natural will, what by Satan, and what by the Holy Spirit 
of God. (Instead of &<5, the reading o the text, rec., the Codd. 
A.B.D.F.G. have dio-i } which Lachmann has justly received. The 
attempts of Paul to come to Thessalonica probably proceeded from 
Bercea. The nai before t-ve/coi/>e is to be taken adversatively. F.G. 
read dvtVoi/)e, which, however, has perhaps only come into the text 
here from Gal. v. 7.) 

Vers. 19, 20. The yap in the beginning of ver. 19 connects it- 


self with the fjOefajaanev in this sense : " to whom could I well have 
more urgently desired to come than to you ? for you are indeed my 
hope, etc." The turn rig yap, K. r. A., stands for the superlative, 
" who is so, if ye are not so, i. c., ye arc so in the proper and widest 
sense." But the following, )) ov^i nal fyieig is obscure. For, it it 
should, as Griesbach and Lachmann punctuate, be annexed to what 
precedes, one would expect ?) r/jslg alone ; in any case, we gain 
thus from the i;ai no satisfactory reference. Pelt translates, it is 
true, nisi inter alios vos ctiam; but what, suits the rig yap, K. -. A., is 
not that the Thessalonians are so too, along with others, but that 
they are so in the more special sense. It is, therefore, certainly more 
suitable with Schott, to put the note of interrogation after Kavxf}- 
oeug, to supply " when, or if, ye are not so/ and then to begin 
a fresh sentence with /) ov^i K<U vfielg Kp.Trpoodev } K. ~. A. But Schott 
translates the words nonne etiam vos critis spcs, gaudia, corona; 
with this, however, the following i-^elg yap tare, does not harmonize, 
nor is the nonne exhausted by ?) ov%i. The difficult passage is ren 
dered entirely clear, only by taking the sentence ?) ov^l Ttapovoia as 
expressing a doubt, which is afterwards in the concluding words, 
vjj.elg yap tars X a P a plainly overcome, in this sense : "or do not ye 
also (as I myself and all the rest of the faithful) appear before 
Christ at his second coining ?" i. e., without hesitation, without any 
doubt, ye will surely be also recognized by Christ as his, and there 
fore will not fall away again at any time from the faith. The cer 
tainty that this will not happen Paul possesses in their election by 
grace ; they are, as it were, made a present of to him for his glory 
and joy, nor will God permit him to be robbed of them. It might 
be objected to this interpretation that it takes " to appear before 
Christ at his coming" as = " to be recognized by Christ," whereas 
it surely only expresses, " to be placed before the judgment-seat, to be 
proved, whether one can be recognized." But as, according to sev 
eral passages of Scripture (John hi. 18 ; 1 Cor. vi. 3), believers are 
not judged at all, wherever the idea of judgment is used of them, it 
is only to be conceived as expressing the recognition of believers as 
really such. (Ver. 19. The Philippians also are called [Phil. iv. 1] 
^apa and artyavog. The latter term is taken from the metaphor so 
often used of the public games, the victor in which was crowned. 
Zrtyavog Kavxfiaebx;, i. c., KV w Kav^rjaiv K%W answers to the Hebrew 
rrxp n-te J. Proverbs xvi. 31 ; Ezek. xvi. 12. On the import of 
Trapovaia and the kindred terms see at Matth. xxiv. 4, 5.) 

Chap, iii., 1, 2. As Paul s attempts to come himself to Thes- 
salonica miscarried, he sent, unable to hold out longer without im 
mediate news, Timothy thither from Athens with self-sacrifice, in 
order to their confirmation and encouragement in the faith. That 
this was done with self-sacrifice is implied in the 


AzupOi jvai KV A0?/vaf povoi, we thought good to be left at Athens alone. 
To be without assistants in a city like Athens must have necessarily 
brought many inconveniences on Paul. (Ver. 1. On crreyw compare 1 
Cor. ix. 12. Ver. 2. The MSS. vary in the epithets bestowed on Timo 
thy. The text, rec., has KOI didnovov rov QEOV KOL avveoyov rjjMv. Gries- 
bach and Lachmann have merely KOI owepybv rov Qeov. Copyists 
might take offence at the avvepybg Qeov, and hold didnovot; Qeov more 
proper. See 1 Cor. iii. 9 on the subject. 2r?/ptfai refers to patience 
under persecutions, as ver. 3 immediately shews, napaaa^aai to growth 
in grace. In 2 Thess. ii. 17 the two expressions stand side by side also, 
but in an inverted order. See, on the use of v-ep, 2 Cor. i. 8 ; 2 
Thess. ii. 1. The v/mg after napana^Kaai Lachmann has erased, after 
weighty authorities. Griesbach has -rrepi instead of vnep in his larger 
edition ; vrrep has been more correctly retained by him in the smaller 
one, and Lachmann too has decided for it.) 

Vers. 3, 4. It lay in the nature of the case that young churches 
not yet well confirmed, such as that in Thessalonica, might easily be 
shaken by the vehemence of persecutions. Paul had, therefore, im 
mediately after the founding of the church, pointed out their in- 
evitableness. The Christian church ivas necessarily to be persecuted, 
because light and darkness, the spirit and the flesh, are necessarily 
opposed to one another. (See on 2 Tim. iii. 12.) But in the dg 
rovro Keifieda is couched more yet than the mere necessity (/it < AAo i uei> 
0/U /3ea0af), viz., the ordinance of God that Christians are to suffer, 
inasmuch as suffering is for them a means of perfection, if it is 
borne in the right spirit. (In ver. 3 the dative of the intention rw 
oaiveoOai is grammatically very harsh. [See Winer s Gr. 44, 5.] 
The Codd. A.D.E. read TO, which Lachmann has received ; then d$ 
would have to be supplied from what precedes. But the very harsh 
ness of the construction naturally occasioned an attempt at cor 
rection. The TOJ may therefore be still worthy of retention, the 
more so as oaiveodat cannot be co-ordinate with, but only subordinate 
to, the other two infinitives. We must perhaps explain the dative 
from the infinitive with ^ in Hebrew. SatVw occurs no more in the 
New Testament. It is properly, " to wag the tail insinuatingly like 
dogs" [.ZElian V. H. xiii. 42] ; then, generally, " to move, shake." 
Hesychius interprets oaiverai by Kvveirai, oakeverai, rapdrrerai. On 
the phrase, itelodai dg n } see at Luke ii. 34 ; Phil. i. 17. In ver. 4 
the Kal o tdare at the close of the verse merely alludes to what Paul 
had foretold having actually come to pass. It forms, therefore, no 
tautology with, the av-ol yap olda-e at the beginning. In Griesbach s 
text all from av-oi, ver. 3, to o ldare [at the close of ver. 4] appears 
included in the parenthesis, which is, however, quite unnecessary, as 
the course of ideas moves on uninterruptedly.) 

Ver. 5. Now precisely because Paul knew the Christians in 


Thessalonica to be wrestling with persecutions, it was (&a ro^ro) 
that he felt so urged to gather information as to the state of their 
faith, in order that the tempter might not incite them to apostacy, 
and thus his entire labour be lost. (The nuyu is explained by 
the circumstance that Paul in his sufferings had also experienced 
great sympathy from the Thessalonians, which he now reciprocates 
on his side. At yv&vat, avrov is first of all to be supplied ; Paul 
learnt it then only by Timothy. That 6 Tmpa^wi , the tempter, is 
Satan, as at Matth. iv. 3 ; 1 Cor. vii. 5, is understood without 
explanation ; the \i r\ n w g tndpaaev v/ surprises one, however, 
inasmuch as the temptation seems there already in the perse 
cutions that had befallen them. But Paul does not consider the 
persecution in itself as temptation ; he had indeed in ver. 4 just 
represented it as, under Grod s direction, resulting in the salvation 
of the faithful ; it becomes a temptation through Satan s power, 
only when he succeeds in calling forth in the heart of man doubts 
of the truth of the gospel unbelief, therefore, on occasion of the 
persecution. On the connexion of [iijnwg with the indicative and 
conjunctive see Winer s Gr. 56, 2, p. 448. Rig aevbv = p-V, Lev. 
xxvi. 16. The idea that Paul s labour is lost, if the Thessalonians 
fall away, bears a character of child-like simplicity. Of course it 
involves no spiritual selfishness, but is the expression of the convic 
tion that the Thessalonians will even by love to him be induced to 
hold fast to the faith.) 

Vers. 6-S. Paul then further describes, with a touching sensi 
bility, how beneficently the good tidings which Timothy brought of 
their firm state of faith and of their love had operated on him ; he 
says they are a comfort to him in all distresses, they had brought 
him life in death. (In ver. 6 apn shews that Paul wrote directly 
after Timothy s return. On eba*yyeM%eo$cu } employed in the wider 
sense of every sort of good tidings, see at Luke i. 19. In ver. 7 dia 
rijg rptiv niareug is the explanation of t vfuv } while tVt 0/Ui/> de 
notes the subjective state in which Paul was when he received the 
comfort. As to the rest, the collocation avdyicy nal OXtyei may, ac 
cording to the MSS., be preferable, as Lachmann and Schott also 
think. In ver. 8 the vvv $<Z[iev supposes that Paul did not live pre 
viously; from 1 Cor. xv. 31, " I die daily/ it is clear that he con 
siders the continual conflicts and dangers in which he was obliged 
to move as a continual dying, into which joy at the firmness in the 
faith of the Christians in Thessalonica entered as a new element of 
life. Hence, also, the idea of life must not be diluted here into the 
more general one of joy. In iav orrjKTjre, along with the present, the 
future too is intimated : " if ye stand, and continue standing." 

Vers. 9, 10. Paul justly considers these tidings as the fountain 
of life, since nothing more grateful could happen to him ; no thanks 


can sufficiently recompense the benefit. (Ver. 9. On dvra-otiidovai 
see Luke xiv. 14 ; Eom. xi. 35. Perhaps in uttering the thought 
the parallel passage, Ps. cxvi. 12, was in the apostle s mind. As to 
%apav xaipeiv see John iii. 29. The Zu-poaOev rov Oeov character 
izes the joy as a holy one, admissible before God s countenance.) 
But the greater the joy, the more lively becomes the wish also in 
Paul to see them and to complete their life of faith. The varepTJ- 
[ia-a r?ig Trtareug, deficiencies of faith, are to be referred not so 
much to any failure in poiver of faith (for that had been up to that- 
time certainly described as energetic), as to defects in the Tcnoivl- 
edge of faith which developes itself by degrees only, which defects 
admit of being gradually supplied through a longer intercourse and 
instruction. On the other hand, true faith has in the very first be 
ginning full power to oppose resistance to all dangers. Finally, it 
follows, of course, that Paul regards the perfecting (Karapriaai) 
practicable, not with his own powers, but only in the strength of the 
Holy Spirit. (Ver. 10. T-epeK-eptaaov has already occurred at Eph. 
iii. 20 ; it is also found at 1 Thess. v. 13. The d<; ~6 after <5s6[j,evo i 
expresses the object of the praying. On vart-pr]jj,a see 1 Cor. xvi. 17; 
2 Cor. ix. 12. ~Ka-ap-i& is properly to set up again something that 
is destroyed [Matth. iv. 21 ; Gal. vi. 1], here to bring to perfection 
without reference to antecedent destruction, = irpdoavaTrKr]p6u or 
avravaiTkripou, 2 Cor. ix. 12 ; Col. i. 24.) 

Vers. 11-13. In conclusion, Paul explicitly utters the petition 
that God and Christ may prepare for him the way to his clear Chris 
tian brethren in Thessalonica, and fill the latter themselves with 
love, and confirm them in sanctification. It is peculiar to this pas 
sage that Christ also is here besought, along with God, to prepare 
the way. External relations are commonly attributed, in the Scrip 
tures, to the Father, but this passage shews that it is allowable to 
bring these also before Christ.* However, no example but this oc 
curs in the New Testament, as, indeed, in general, prayers to Christ 
are seldom found. But the juxtaposition of Father and Son, taken 
strictly, is to be understood thus : "may the Father work so and 

* The words avroe 6 Qeijf Kal 6 ttvpiof i/u.uiv Irjaovr Xpiaruf KarevOvvai rijv 66bv rjnuv 
rrpbf v/2uf are certainly decisive for the opinion that prayers to the Son are not inadmis 
sible, even in reference to external relations. But the very circumstance that such occur 
no more in the New Testament, and then the whole analogy of faith, are, surely, decidedly 
opposed to making prayers to the Saviour frequently, much more, predominantly and al 
most exclusively, in all external occurrences, as is done in the Moravian churches. The 
entire ancient church knows of no prayers to Christ which have reference to externals. 
If, therefore, beginners in the life of faith often confess themselves to be uncertain whether 
they shall address their prayers to the Father or to the Son, or even to the Holy Ghost 
perhaps, it is to be assumed as a general rule according to the rightly understood relation 
of the Trinity, that external relations must be brought before the Father in prayer, and 
moral and religious before the Son and the Holy Ghost, or, in fine, that we should pray 
for everything of the Father, throwjh the Son, in the Holy Ghost. 



so through his Son." (Ver. 11. KarevQvvai is the optative aorist, 
as at 2 Thess. iii. 5, not the infinitive. Ver. 12. The readings 6 Qeog 
and 6 Kvpiog Iqoovg are, it may be supposed, only interpretations of 
the simple 6 nvpiog. That Christ, not the Father, is to he under 
stood by it cannot be doubtful, after ver. 10. Tl/teovd&iv and nepio- 
oeveiv are related to each other as cause and effect, " to grow, and 
the riches proceeding from the growth." The love elg a/Ub/Ao^ and 
that elg -rrdvra^ are related to one another as brotherly love and uni 
versal love, 2 Pet. i. 7. [Comp. 1 Thess. iv. 9.] With /caflarrep not 
7/jaeZf not TrXsovdaat. but dydTrrjv t^ofxev, can be supplied. Ver. 13. 
Growth in love has afterwards the consequence of confirming the 
heart in holiness, similarly to the way in which it is represented 2 
Thess. ii. 16, 17. The combination a\iK\n\-ovq iv dyiuavvq unites the 
negative and positive elements. [Upon dyicoavvr) see Rom. i. 4 ; 2 
Cor. vii. 1. It denotes the process of being made holy, the result of 
which is dyiaafiog, 1 Thess. iv. 3.] But both are meant not of a ho 
liness in the sight of purblind human eyes, but of one that is such 
before the eye of God. Such an absolute holiness belongs to the 
believer after his new man, the Christ in us, which is hidden here 
below, but is made manifest at the day of the Lord s appearance. 
Hence the addition t-v ~f/ Trapovaia, K. r. A., similarly to v. 23. On 
the doctrinal meaning of the phrase and the parallel formulae, see 
the remarks on Matth. xxiv. 1. The term uytoi can, it is undeni 
able, mean " angels," after the analogy of the Hebrew di 4" 1 !?, Psalm, 
Ixxxix. 7 ; Zech. xiv. 5 ; Dan. iv. 8, viii. 13, ix. 20. Besides, angels 
are named as accompanying Christ in his advent, Matth. xvi. 27, xxv. 
31 ; 2 Thess. i. 7 ; Jude ver. 14. Yet the added avrov and the des 
ignation of the collective mass [//- Tav-rwi ] give rise to the opinion 
that the earlier perfected believers may be here imagined as Christ s 
followers at his advent ; for the angels are never called Christ s an 
gels, nor is it conceivable that all the heavenly hosts should accom 
pany him, but it might be all believers should. We shall not, 
however, be able to explain ourselves more in detail on this point 
until later [see at iv. 16], where we consider Paul s views upon the 
end of the world in their connexion. The a/^v, which concludes 
this passage in some Codd., is doubtless come into the text from lit 
urgical use alone. 


(IV. 1 V. 28.) 


(iv. 1-12.) 

AFTER the prayer that God will, through his Spirit ; fill the Thes- 
salonians with his love, Paul now turns to them also, and calls upon 
them to do their part in the work of sanctification, so that here too, 
human agency seems not to be annihilated by the Divine, but stim 
ulated. But now, as a rule for their walking so as to please God, 
Paul appeals to the commandment given them by him during his 
personal presence among them. We may, of course, assume that 
the exhortations which follow contain only a repetition of the same, 
for they keep altogether to generals, and it is scarcely imaginable 
that Paul in the short time of his sojourn could have gone beyond 
generals. (Ver. 1. We have already had koinov, used as an adverb, 
2 Cor. xiii. 11 ; Gal. vi. 17 ; Eph. vi. 10 ; Phil. iii. 1, iv. 8. The 
expression indicates already that Paul is hastening to a conclusion. 
The reading of the text, rec., TO AOJTTW, must, for extrinsic reasons, 
give way to ^OLTTOV. The collocation of the words is not entirely 
exact ; for iva irepioaev^re jj.a/(.X.ov should subjoin itself immediately 
to tpwroi^ev vjjidg KCU rrapaKa/tovnev again, an ovrug should correspond 
with the KaOo)g. It is true, B.D.E.F.G. have Iva before Kadug -rrape^d- 
/3ere, and Lachmann has even put it into the text, but in all probabil 
ity this is only a correction of the more difficult original reading. On 
the other hand Lachmann has, with perfect justice, on the authority 
of A.B.D.E.F.G., adopted the addition KaO&g ical TTEpirrarEtre wanting 
in the text. rec. after dpKOKsiv Oew. The apostle acknowledges their 
Christian walking, but exhorts them to increase still in the care 
and fidelity with which they live. Ver. 2. We find the term Trapay- 
yeMa, " commandment, precept," also at Acts v. 28, xvi. 24 ; 1 Tim. 
i. 5, 18. The addition did rov nvptov Irjoov Xpia-ov is to represent 
Paul as empowered to publish moral commandments, that is, as in 
vested by Jesus with the full powers of an apostle.) 

Vcrs. 3-5. To this general exhortation Paul now causes the 
special moral precepts to succeed, and first of all, indeed, those for 
sexual purity and chastity (vers. 3-8). The sinfulness of human 


nature in general, which makes temptations in this point particu 
larly dangerous, and the immersion of the Gentile world in sins of 
lust, which were even pre-eminently in vogue in Thessalouica, in par 
ticular, justly induced Paul to put this exhortation in the foreground. 
Aymffftoc, " the state of holiness," is to be taken here in a special 
sense, as " chastity," as also at Horn. vi. 19 ; 1 Tim. ii. 15. The 
proper term for it is dyveia, I Tim. iv. 12, v. 2. But, considered 
as true inward chastity, it is necessarily conjoined with universal 
moral purity, whence the justification for such a special application 
of the word. But now Paul first describes chastity negatively as 
abstinence from all impure sexual acts (jropveia taken in the widest 
sense), then positively as governing the body in chastity and honour. 
The body here too appears, according to the Christian fundamental 
view, not as a prison for the soul, but as its holy organ, which, like 
the soul itself, must be preserved pure and undefiled, in order to 
be made a temple of the Holy Spirit. (See at 1 Cor. vi. 15-20.) 
The antithesis to ttrdoOai OKCVOC; iv dyiaap<^ /cat ripy. to possess the vessel 
in sanctification and honour, is Krdodai KV rrdOei EmOvfiias, to possess in 
the passion of desire. In this phrase i-rrtOv^ia is imagined as a power 
operating perniciously on man ; he must comport himself only pas 
sively, * . e., receptively, towards the Holy Spirit of God ; on the other 
hand, against everything purely sinful and natural, he is to stand up 
to control and ward off. (See on this point especially 1 Pet. ii. 11.) 
This simple acceptation of the words, which is also perfectly adapted 
to the context of the passage, has been already defended by Chry- 
sostom, Theodoret, and other Greek Fathers, in the West by Ter- 
tullian, Ambrosiaster, arid Pelagius, then by Calvin, Beza, Grotius, 
Le Clerc, in later times by Baumgarten, Flatt, and Pelt. In fact, 
the use of onevo$ as = ^.s offers no difficulty. Philo, too, uses sev 
eral times the phrase dyyelov r//f V^AW (de migr. Abr. p. 418. Quod 
deterior pot. insid. p. 18G). In the New Testament, 2 Cor. iv. 7 is 
decisive. It is true, Schott is of opinion that ^vKv^arog oi^v^jg must 
be added to anevog if it be meant to denote the body. But 2 Cor. iv. 7 
shews that this is not necessary, where the context makes tho^ mean 
ing of the word sufficiently clear. But besides, in reality such an 
addition is also involved in KCLV-OV, by which the personality, the 
t/>v?/, is distinguished from the aicevog, and the latter designated as 
belonging to the former. The only difficulty presented by our in 
terpretation is found in K-doGai. For in the present that word is " to 
acquire," in the perfect alone "to possess," i.e., "to have acquired." 
But it seems improper to speak of an " acquiring" of the body, as 
it is inborn in man. Yet, although the substance of the body is in 
born in man, the dominion over the body is not, and by this domin 
ion the body is first made a true onevoc, a serviceable organ for the 
soul. We may, therefore, aptly take the expressions thus : " let 
VOL. V. 18 


each, know, i. e., let each learn, by practice and experience, to guide 
and to master his body as a true instrument of the soul, and not 
abandon it to a fierce violence of the passions." Thus Chrysostom, 
on this passage, has already quite correctly interpreted in the words 
dpa I /nelg avrb (TO onf.vo^ Kru^Oa, orav IIKVTJ KaOapov, Kai KOTIV KV dyi- 
a<7juoi, orav dt: aKaOaprov, dfiapria sell, tcrdrat avro. To this sole ad 
missible interpretation of the passage other acceptations of it must 
decidedly give way. First, that defended by Erasmus Schmid, that 
oKsvog stands, like the Latin vas, for the male organ of generation. 
For, although aitevog occurs in that sense in profans writers (see 
JElian hist. anim. xvii. 11), the holy Scriptures are not acquainted 
with it, and nothing in the context justifies us in such an assump 
tion. But, secondly, very distinguished interpreters, after the ex 
ample of Augustine, viz., Schottgen, Wetstein, Koppe, and Schott, 
understand oitevog of the woman, who, in the Oriental mode of contem 
plation, is looked on as the instrument of the man, as Vs, or Chald. 
as ^es, Dan. v. 2, 3, 23. According to this, then, the woman is 
called, 1 Pet. iii. 7, aitevog doOevto-epov. But the altogether general 
character of the exhortation is against the application of that mean 
ing in this passage. To abstain from rropvsia refers not to men only, 
but equally to women ; but if ofcevog is interpreted of the woman, 
cuaoTog v-fji&v would refer to men only, and even among them only 
to those living in wedlock, with the exclusion of the unmarried and 
of widowers, which clearly does not suit the general nature of the 
expression. Nor can this view find support in the use of urda- 
Oat, for itraadai yvvalna means, it is true, " to marry" (Ruth iv. 10 ; 
Sir. xxxvi. 24), but not " to be married, to live in wedlock," which 
meaning the context here would require. (In ver. 4, rifnj forms the 
antithesis to dn;iia. It answers here to our " honourableness." The 
reading d-iiiiaq for tTuOvfuag has probably only come into the text 
here from the parallel passage Rom. i. 26. In ver. 5 Kai after aaOd- 
?rep is, similarly as at iv. 13, to be explained by the assumption that 
Paul is thinking of those Jews or Christians who allow wicked lusts 
to reign in them ; these, continues he, act as the Gentiles also do ; 
they thus place themselves on an equality with the Gentiles, deny 
the knowledge imparted to them of the true God, which the Gentiles 
do not even possess, and are plainly, so far, still more amenable to 
punishment than they.) 

Vers. 6, 7. That in the two verses here there cannot by any 
means be contained an entirely fresh precept and warning, different 
from the previous one, as would be that against covetousness, is 
clearly shewn by the connexion of ver. 7 with ver. 6, by which the 
calling of the Christians to chastity (dyiaopog, as at ver. 3), not to 
duaOapaia, is joined by means of ydp to what precedes. To under 
stand aKadapaia here otherwise than of sexual uncleanness is de- 


cidedly unallowable ; and then ver. 6 cannot well come in between 
with something heterogeneous, the less that the infinitives vTrepflai- 
veiv and TrXeoveKTfXv plainly unite themselves to the TOVTO yap ari 
dehrjfia rov Qeov } and thus stand co-ordinate with the d-fysnOai and 
ddevai KraoOai. The idea in vTrepftaiveiv is so general that it forms 
no difficulty in the reference of ver. 6 to sexual relations ; it do- 
notes, with or without vdjuoc, " the sinful transgressing of the law," 
in Hebrew is? and 15?^, which Symmachus, Aquila, and Theodo- 
tion, in Prov. xx. 2, render by V7repl3air et.v } whereas the LXX. trans 
late it rrapo^vvetv. But certainly the second verb ^eove/cTelv seems, 
according to the primary meaning of the word, to favour the suppo 
sition of Origen, to which Grotius also, Rosenmiiller, Koppe, and 
Flatt, have adhered, viz., that ver. 6 contains a warning against 
covetousness, and especially against over-reaching in trade. How 
ever, KV roi Trpay^cm forms in its turn a great obstacle to this inter 
pretation, apart from the above-mentioned difficulties resulting 
from the connexion of ver. 7 with ver. 6. For Trpay^a is not some 
thing like " bargain and sale," as Grotius insists, but npayfia-eia. 
Another serious difficulty is created by the article. True, it has 
been proposed to conjecture rw, i. e., rm, but the circumstance that 
no MS. leaves out the article is sufficient evidence for its original 


existence. But all becomes intelligible if we, with the Greek Fathers, 
Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, afterwards Wetstein, Baum- 
garten, Pelt, and Schott, take TrAeove/creZv in the figurative sense, 
and understand the whole of adultery, of the greedy invasion of the 
property of a brother, thus of the seduction of his wife, for there is no 
ground at all for thinking of unnatural sins of lust. The words t-v 
rw TrpdyfwTi are then simply " in the matter which is here in ques 
tion." This mode of taking nXeoveic-elv is the more probable, as we 
saw at Eph. iv. 19, v. 3, 5, Paul uses -teove&a elsewhere too of sins 
of the flesh. The second half of ver. 6 contains a further enforce 
ment of the exhortation to chastity through the admonition that 
God punishes all sins of lust, a remark by no means superfluous for 
the Greeks, who treated those relations very lightly. Hence also 
Paul remarks, that he has already set before them previously the 
guilt of those acts. (Ver. 6. "EitdiKog, avenger. Sir. xxx. 6 ; Rom. 
xiii. 4. The form TrpoetTmjuev of the text. rec. is certainly unusual in 
the compound ; but it deserves the preference for that very reason, 
especially as the critical authorities also favour it pre-eminently. 
&ta,[JiaprvQecrOai naprvpsaOat. : see ii. 12. In ver. 7 e~i and KV are to 
be so taken that l-i " unto" denotes the object of the obligation, tV, 
on the other hand, the permanent state of chastity in which Chris 
tians are to live, so that the words may be thus paraphrased, " the 
holy God called us not to uncleanness, i. e. } that we should servo 


uncleanness with his will, but that we might be and continue m. 
chastity/ ) 

Ver. 8. Paul closes this serious exhortation with the remark, by 
which ver. 7 is completed, that every one that dcspiseth this de- 
spiseth God himself, because it emanates from him, in that he not 
only works by means of the apostle, but also gives to all Christians 
the Holy Ghost, who urges to chastity. (Toiyapovv is the strengthened 
rot-yap. Heb. xii. 1. Adereiv has rarely an accusative of the per 
son, but usually one of the thing [Mark vii. 9 ; 1 Tim. v. 12]. 
Joined with the former, it is " to despise," Gal. ii. 21. On the strict 
mode of taking ow d/Ua see Winer s Gr. 55, 8, p. 440, upon this 
passage ; it is not to be translated, " not so much men, as God," all 
the emphasis is rather to be laid on God and the despising him 
alone. Lachmann reads rbv didovra for rbv nal Sovra, but it is ex 
tremely improbable that Kai would have been added, if it were 
originally wanting. On the other hand, the omission of it is easily 
explained, especially with the reading el$ r^dg, which it will not suit 
at all. However, the reading d$ vfj.dg is to be preferred on extrinsic 
and intrinsic grounds, for the idea of the verse is considerably 
heightened by it, if the sense is this, *" whoever dcspiseth this com 
mandment unto chastity, despiseth God himself, for he giveth it not 
merely by means of us the apostles, who are filled with the Spirit, 
but also in that he gave to you yourselves the Holy Spirit, i. e., the 
gift of examination and insight into Divine things, along with the 
strength to keep God s commandments" they are thus in this re 
spect, also, QeodidaitToi, as they are directly (in ver. 9) called with 
reference to brotherly love.) 

Vers. 9, 10. To the first exhortation to chastity (vers. 3-8) the 
second to love is now (vers. 9-12) annexed, as well to brotherly love, 
as also to universal love. It is true, there seems in ver. 11 to be some 
thing quite different introduced, viz., the exhortation to industry ; 
this, however, does not appear independently, but only indirectly, 
" for," says Paul, " they are to work, in order to give no cause of 
offence to the non-Christians." It is love, therefore, which is in the 
whole paragraph (vers. 9-12) recommended to be practised towards 
Christians and non-Christians. In reference now to brotherly love, 
Paul entirely acknowledges the position of the Thessalonians, and 
therefore alludes to what they have done to all the brethren in 
Macedonia. What sort of service of love is hereby meant is not 
more accurately known to us. Paul gives, as the inner foundation 
of this their faithful practice of love, which renders all further in 
struction as to it needless, that they are 6eodidaKToi. } i. e. (according 
to ver. 8), that the Holy Ghost has been given them ; for where he 
is, there he also teaches, and where he teaches, there he also creates 
the practice. (In ver. 9 we prefer, with Lachrnann, %o/zev to 


after "A.C.E. and other critical authorities ; for the first person forms 
a clearer antithesis to Qeodi dattroi " where God teaches/ Paul 
means to say, " there I can be silent." [See at John vi. 45, where 

KTol rov Qeov is found, and John xiv. 26.] Et f rb dya-irav dXXrj- 
involves the intimation that God, who is love, also teaches all 
to love.) 

Vers. 11, 12. This one thing alone Paul beseeches of them, not 
to stand still at that point to which they had already attained, but 
to increase in love, especially to let their brotherly love expand into 
universal love, rrpbg TOV$ KW. (See on 1 Cor. v. 12 ; Col. iv. 5.) Now 
this universal love they are, according to the representation given 
here, to practise not so much positively which the separation of be 
lievers and unbelievers admits of in a less degree as negatively, viz., 
by avoiding all cause of offence, and giving no occasion to the non- 
Christians to blame anything in the professors of the gospel. Now 
it is to be supposed that such had even at that time occurred in 
Thessalonica, although as it seems (see at v. 1), on other grounds 
than afterwards, when Paul wrote the second epistle (2 Thess. iii. 
10, seq.) ; Paul, therefore, in his wisdom, takes up this specially 
with reference to his oral directions, and thus admonishes his read 
ers in the most conciliatory form. (Ver. 11. On fa^oripeiadai see at 
Bom. xv. 20 ; 2 Cor. v. 9. It is " zealously to strive after anything." 
The ii3v%d&iv receives its explanation from the parallel passage 2 
Thess. iii. 11, 12. It forms the antithesis to the unquiet religious 
bustle into which the Thessalonians had fallen through their super 
ficial conception of the doctrine of the second coming of Christ. It 
is therefore to be taken, " to keep one s-self quiet ; to continue in 
the prescribed circle of one s calling." The irpdaoeiv rd idea (= rd 
tavTwv) which follows, expresses the same idea positively which 
/iav%d&iv declares negatively, for it stands in opposition to the mix 
ing one s-self up with other people s affairs. The Idiaig, which fol 
lows, is to be cancelled, with Lachmann, on the authority of B.D.E. 
F.Gr. From the exhortation to work with their hands we see that 
at least the majority of the Christians in Thessalonica belonged to 
the class of mechanics. Ver. 12. Eycr^udvwf, honestc, decently, with 
out giving just cause of offence, Kom. xiii. 13 ; 1 Cor. xiv. 40. OM??- 
devog is to be taken as masculine, in the sense, " that others may not 
be obliged to work for you.") 

(iv. 13 v. 11.) 

* As we have already remarked in the Introduction to the Epistles 
to the Thessalonians, the doctrine of the second coming of Christ to 


the kingdom of God had become especially important to the Chris 
tians there. To them, as being previously Gentiles, this circle of 
ideas might till then have been entirely unknown. Their new and 
striking nature took possession, therefore, of their excitable Greek 
fancy, and threatened to hurry them into fanatical vagaries. As to 
the rest, it was only during the composition of the first epistle that 
Paul had notice of a misunderstanding, which he here, vers. 13-18, 
rectifies. The expressions iny. 1-3 do not as yet indicate that Paul 
feared the Thessalonians might also engage in fixing the time of the 
second coming of the Lord, which, notwithstanding, occurred at a 
later date, as the second epistle shews. But the misapprehension 
which comes primarily under discussion, consisted in their supposing 
at Thessalonica that those only who were living on earth at Christ s 
coming again would nave part in the kingdom of God. This ex 
cited anxiety on account of the departed, as if they were debarred 
the kingdom of God. Not, as Koppe thinks, that they altogether 
doubted the resurrection of tfye dead ; this was the case with Gnos 
tics alone, of whom we find no trace in Thessalonica. They rather 
seem not to have been duly informed of the^r^ resurrection and its 
relation to the universal one. They thought (as Paul s communi 
cation, which follows, shews) that those only who were found alive at 
Christ s second corning would enter with him into his kingdom. 
The dead they therefore thought, would not return to life till at the 
general resurrection of the dead after the kingdom of God, and would 
therefore be debarred from the bliss in the kingdom of God. To this 
error Paul now opposes the information that those dead in the faith 
would arise before the general resurrection, and accordingly those 
living at Christ s coming could not possibly anticipate the former. 
From this, then, it follows that Paul in his eschatologic views has 
appropriated the two fundamental views of the Jewish theology, just 
as the other writings of the New Testament do, which 2 Thess. ii. 
establishes even still more, viz., first, the distinction of a double res 
urrection, one of the just or faithful, and the general one, on which 
the remarks in the Conirn. on Luke xiv. 14 ; John v. 25, seq. ; Acts 
xxiv. 15 ; 1 Cor. xv. 22, 23, and, above all, Kev. xx. 5, seq., xxi. 1, 
seq., are to be compared ; secondly, the supposition of a kingdom of 
God on earth, the so-called Millennium. True, nothing certain can 
be concluded from the phrase fiaGiksia rov Oeov or Xpicrov in Paul, 
for he uses it in such a comprehensive manner, as is done also in the 
gospels (see on Matth. iii. 2) and the other books of the New Tes 
tament, as always to comprise in it at the same time with the 
earthly kingdom eternity also, as indeed it is understood at once 
that whoever has a part in the kingdom of God also enjoys eternal 
happiness, because no falling away again can happen in the kingdom 
of God ; but vice versa, not every one that attains eternal happiness 


has also a part in the kingdom of God. (Compare Kom. xiv. IT ; 1 
Cor. iv. 11, 20, vi. 9, 10, xv. 24, 50 ; Gal. v. 21 ; Eph. v. 5 ; Col. 
i. 13 ; 1 Thess. ii. 12 j 2 Thess. i. 5 ; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 18.) But Paul 
never uses the phrase J3aaikeia -. 0. for eternity alone with an ex 
clusion of the earthly kingdom ; for this he employs the words a^-r\~ 
pia, ou&aOai. The only passage in Paul s epistles, in which (3aaikeia 
r. 0. could seem to denote eternity alone without the kingdom of 
God, is 2 Tim. iv. 18, whore the epithet iirwgdvtos is used. But the 
kingdom of God is not called heavenly here as being conceived by 
Paul as in heaven, but as being of heavenly nature, as making 
earthly relations heavenly. The expression tmyeiog of course does 
not occur, because it would inevitably give rise to misapprehensions. 
The Jews erred in their otherwise correct doctrine in that very point 
that they deemed the Messiah s kingdom earthly, and that in place of 
the Gentiles, who reigned at that time, the Jews would reign in it, and 
the Gentiles serve. If the better-minded among them, who followed 
the pure instructions of the Old Testament rather than the per 
verted views of the Kabbins, willingly acknowledged the moral 
transformations also, the reign of justice, truth, and love, in the 
kingdom of God ; still even among them the external view predom 
inated too decidedly. Therefore it was that so few were able to 
recognize in Christ and his followers the germ of the kingdom of 
God. (Yer. 13. See as to ov 6s^ofiEv vp.dg dyvoelv Horn. i. 13 ; 1 Cor. 
x. 1, xii. 1 ; 2 Cor. i. 8. Lachrnann has, on the authority of A.B , 
preferred the reading Koiptopevuv, which in fact is favoured by the 
circumstance that the form of the perfect KSK.oifirjp.Kvuv is so pre 
dominant in the New Testament that we may easily suppose it 
substituted where it was not found. The very name points to a 
future awakening from the slumber of death.4-"Ira p] AVT/Jatfe scil. 
wept avrajv, as if they were debarred from the kingdom of God. On 
aai after nadux; see at iv. 5.) 01 Aoiiroi ol fii] K^ovreg t-AiriJa, i. e., the 
Gentiles ; certainly these mourn in another sense over their relations 
that are fallen asleep, viz., as those who consider death as annihila 
tion ; but Paul means precisely by this forcible comparison to ren 
der prominent the total inadmissibility of such sorrow. 

Ver. 14. Now, first of all, Paul declares, for the comfort of his 
readers, that the great events of the life of Jesus, the representa 
tive of entire humanity, also afforded security for the belief that 
God would awaken them that sleep ; for they too are surely his like 
the living. This line of argument has clearly the force of demon 
stration only when the KOLH^EVOL (ver. 13) are believers. He that 
died without faith in Christ had of course in no case a claim to par 
ticipation in the kingdom of God ; but Christ s whole work, even 
the blessing of his death, as well as that of his resurrection, passes 
over to those dead in the faith. Now this could certainly, in the 


letter, be understood as by Koppc, as implying that the Thessalonians 
had doubted of the resurrection altogether. But if we take this pas 
sage in connexion with the whole chain of argument, especially the 
transition from ver. 1G to ver. 17, it cannot but be confessed that the 
first resurrection alone, that of the just, which is, in the fullest sense 
of the words, an dvdaraaig dg faijv is meant. Paul takes no account 
at all in his words of such a possible misapprehension of them, be 
cause he knew what a lively faith his readers had in the resurrection 
generally. (The construction d ovrwg is unusual and harsh. To 
join, with Storr and Flatt, ov-u to Koif.irjOevrag, in the sense " those 
thus [i. c., in the faith] asleep," is, of course, quite inadmissible. 
Oirro) stands pleonasticallyat the beginning of the apodosis.* Winer s 
Gr. 60, 5, p. 478. In Kev. xi. 5 ov-u is used just so in the 
apodosis after el. The connexion of did ~ov Irjaov with Ko^fltVrac, 
either in the sense " those asleep in the faith in Christ," or, " at the 
time of Christ," is justly given up as entirely contrary to grammar 
by the latest interpreters Pelt and Schott ; it can only be joined 
with dgei. True, we then expect ovv avr& } but avrw explains itself 
quite well too. According to the usual representation of the New 
Testament [John v. 28, vi. 39, xiv. 3 ; 2 Cor. iv. 14 ; Phil. iii. 21], 
God awakes men through Christ and then lets them ever be with 
the Lord, as it is immediately said in what follows, ver. 17. But 
dfri embraces more than the mere act of awakening, viz., this in 
conjunction with the dp-x-d&aQai, which subjoins itself to the former 
in ver. 17, on which see the particulars.) 

Ver. 15. Paul now announces more explicitly to his readers the 
progress of the occurrences as certain revealed truth. At first he 
expresses himself in ver. 15 only negatively, the living will not 
come before the dead, i. e., they will not go into the kingdom of God 
alone, nay not even earlier than the latter ; then in vers. 16, 17, he 
gives the positive steps in the sequence of occurrences. But the 
most important thing in this verse is the i r jfj.elg before ol ^tivreg ol 
TrepiXet-opevoi, which is repeated ver. 17. It is unmistakably clear 
from this that Paul deemed it possible that he and his contempora 
ries might live to see the coming again of Christ. But this suppo 
sition need not excite the slightest apprehension. That it has 
continued unfulfilled, this hope of Paul s, is, no doubt, true ; but 
Paul himself, with all the apostles, acknowledges also in terms that 
no one knows the time or hour (see on v. 2), not even the angels, 
nor the Son (Mark xiii. 32); the Lord himself declares that man 
may not know them (Acts i. 7), but that still the second coming is 
to be at all times expected as near (see on Luke xii. 34, seq., 
Matth. xxiv. 1). Therefore this passage would be a stumbling- 

* OVTU is not strictly pleonastic, nor docs Winer (p. 478) thus regard it. It points tc 
the common fortunes shared with Christ by believers. [K. 


bloc,: only in case the rovro keyopev v AdyGj nvpiov were also to be re 
ferred to the subordinate point whicli is couched in the ?#/? oi ^G>v- 
TEf. For, had Paul said, " I know by a communication of the 
Lord .that we shall witness the advent of Christ even in our own 
life-time," then a disparaging conclusion might with justice be 
drawn from the non-fulfilment of that saying ; but here the saying 
of the Lord refers merely to the chief idea, that those remaining 
will not prevent them that are asleep, and not to the subordi 
nate designation of the -t^lq. Paul supposes the hope of living to 
see the advent of Christ as generally diffused, and finishes speaking 
of it without declaring anything at all about it itself; the sense of 
the words is therefore only, " we, who liope to continue to live until 
the advent of Christ." A misapprehension could not take place 
in this relation, because it is immediately explained in what fol 
lows (v. 1, seq.) that the time is not known. Certainly, the pro 
ceeding of the older interpreters, who thought Paul spoke in the 
plural only conversationally, without really meaning to say that they 
themselves, he and his readers, might be still living at the occur 
rence of that catastrophe, is decidedly to be rejected. For this 
passage does not stand isolated, but all the writers of the New 
Testament consider Christ s advent as near (1 Cor. xv. 51, 52 ; 1 
Pet. iv. 7 ; 1 Johnii. 18 ; James v. 8); in fact, the whole doctrine 
w r ould not have the slightest practical significance, unless the long 
ing after the second coming of Christ were each moment alive, 
and therefore continually deemed possible. It was only towards 
the end of his life (Phil. i. 23) that Christ s advent retreated in 
Paul s mind to a remoter distance. (The Atyo/iEv KV Adyw (= in-s) 
is to be explained, " we express our ideas in a word of the Lord s/ 
and this stands then in opposition to the mere subjective yvwp/ 
of Paul. [See on 1 Cor. vii. 10, 12, 25.] But it is a question, 
does Paul mean by " word of the Lord" an immediate revelation 
which was bestowed on him, or a declaration of Christ s which had 
come down to him by tradition, and which, in that case, either 
may or may not be preserved, to us in the gospels ? Pelt insists 
on it that Matth. xxiv. 31, seq., was in Paul s mind ; but the special 
idea of this verse occurs neither there nor anywhere else. The ap 
peal to a lost expression of Christ s has a very arbitrary charac 
ter ; I decide, therefore, for an immediate revelation, as Paul 
elsewhere also claims for himself, ex. gr. 1 Cor. xi. 23, in reference 
to peculiar points. The mpiXei-rrofievoi is to be explained by the no 
tion of death snatching the majority away, leaving but few remain 
ing ; -do, which connects itself immediately with that, expresses 
then the terminus up to which the living are left. Upon ov fj,rj } 
which occurs v. 3 also, in the meaning neutiquam, see .Winer s Gr. 
56, 3, p. 472, and upon the form of the aorist, which follows, 


ib., 56, 3, p. 450. Had the Thessalonians believed in no resur 
rection at all, then there could have been no talk of a tyOdveiv of 
the living : in that case too their dead must have been called veKpoi, 
not Koijjr]OKvreg. ) 

Ver. 16. To this the positive side is then subjoined, from which 
follows the groundlessness of the anxiety of the Thessalonians for 
their dear ones dead in the faith. For at Christ s coming again 
these will arise first, consequently none can come before them. 
Christ s coming is expressly referred to his holy person and glorified 
body itself (avrbg 6 Kvpiog) (therefore every manifestation of him 
as in mere operations is excluded) and represented as a descent 
from heaven, clearly with an allusion to the being taken up into 
heaven (avahr]fy07ivai elg rbv ovpavov, Acts i. 11). That this descent 
of Christ s will, be a visible one, and prepared by means of a sign 
of the Son of man. is clearly shewn by Matth. xxiv. 30 (at which 
see the Comm.), but whether the glorified Eedeemer will tread 
the earth, or only shew himself to men, which ver. 17 might make 
more probable, is nowhere in the Holy Scriptures openly declared. 
Kev. xix. 12, seq., describes this appearance of Christ for the Mil 
lennium ; but this too only speaks of a shewing himself on the 
part of Christ, to the terror of the unbelieving, to the joy of be 
lievers. In the drf oi-pavov,from heaven, heaven, the right hand of 
God, is designated as the present place of Christ s abode since the 
ascension (see on Matth. xxvi. 64). How the appearing of the Lord 
will have an annihilating effect on the wicked and their head, Anti 
christ, 2 Thess. i. 8, ii. 8, declare more in detail ; in accordance with 
which the Lord is here described as a leader of armies, as a heavenly 
orparnyog. He comes not alone, but all his saints with him (iii. 13), 
who form, as it were, his heavenly army, which surrounds him, as in 
the Old Testament Jehovah appears with his armies of angels (Gen. 
xxxii. 2). The description in Kevelation (chap, xix.) is completely 
in accordance with it ; a heavenly army follows Christ on his appear 
ance (vers. 11-13), " clothed in white and clean silk" (ver. 14). This 
addition leaves no doubt upon the fact that sanctified men are to be 
understood by it ; for, according to ver. 8, clean silk is the mark of 
the righteousness of the saints. But in our passage the phrase KV 
(/>jf/ dp%ayyK/(.ov } ivith the voice of an archangel, excites the doubt 
whether by the army angels may not be meant. (See on Matth. 
xxiv. 31.) For, although men may bear the name of angels (Matth. 
xi. 10 ; Mark i. 2 ; Luke vii. 27, compared with Mai. iii. 1), yet no 
passage is found where man is named dp%dyyeXog. True, it is, as 
we shall immediately shew further on, very questionable, and to me 
not probable, that dp^dyyekog here denotes an angel ; Christ himself 
seems rather to be understood by it. But, even if we refer the term 
to an angel, it does not thence follow that the army is composed of 


angels only. Kather, as in Rev. xix. 17, xx. 1, also angels are named 
along with men, it seems most correct to suppose that sanctified 
men as well as angels will accompany Christ s appearance. Compare 
2 Thess. i. 7, 10. (K&evqpa, according to vulgar pronunciation, 
attice Kt-Av[ia } means in general " a command, loud call/ then par 
ticularly in war " the word of command, for inarching, for the at 
tack." See Time. ii. 92 ; Prov. xxx. 27. The phrases iv 0wi/y 
dp%ayyekov ical KV odX-iyyi Qsov are to he considered as epexegeses of 
the KKAvafj,a. As all signals in war were usually given by means of 
the trumpet, the term aa/brtyl is chosen to designate the mighty in 
fluence which will penetrate the universe, and which will be con 
nected with Christ s appearance, and by which both the assembling 
of the faithful then living, and the awakening of those asleep, will 
be effected ; external physical phenomena, earthquakes, storms, and 
the like, will, no doubt, accompany this working ; but it is princi 
pally to be conceived as of a spiritual nature. [See on Matth. xxiv. 
7, 31 ; 1 Cor. xv. 52. and especially Kev. viii. 2.] The genitive 
Qeov indicates not the force of the sound, but God as the author of 
the KKAKvofia given by means of the trumpet. The combination 6 
tcvpiog ic.a~aj3ijoTai iv KeAEvo/j-an, KV aaATTiyyi, expresses the permanent 
and concomitant operations of the Divine power during the appear 
ance of the Lord : " He descends in the sound of the trumpet," 
i. e., so that God s energy, which penetrates and calls into life all 
things, permanently accompanies his descent. The middle phrase 
iv $uvq dpxayyKAov denotes the commander of the heavenly host 
[the upx^v orpand^ ovpaviov, Luke ii. 13], as ordering it with his 
voice and giving the KtAevnpa. But the question occurs, are we to 
imagine a particular angel to be meant by the expression, or not ? 
Rev. xii. 7 ; Dan. x. 13, xii. 1, might suggest to us the Archangel 
Michael ; but, as the article is wanting, this is plainly inadmissible. 
" The voice of an archangel," therefore, may be taken as denoting 
the powerful quality of the voice, unless we prefer to suppose that 
Christ himself is here called dpxdyyAog. In favor of this is the 
circumstance that Christ plainly appears here as the leader of the 
heavenly hosts, the KKAevapa is his word of command, the voice, 
therefore, must also be his voice.* The order of the series strongly 
opposes our understanding by the word a created angel : iv n.Aeva- 
jtan Xgiarov, KV (puvq dp^oyyeA-oVj KV adXiriyyt Qsov. Certainly we do 
not find elsewhere that Christ is called dp%dyyeA-og } but, if we resolve 
the expression into its fundamental idea, dp%uv ~&v dyyKAuv, ruler 
of the angels, there is surely not the least cause for scruple to call 

* Thus Ambrosiaster had already correctly interpreted. Ipse enim Christus Dominus, 
says he on. this passage, voluntate patris quasi primus angdus Dai cum exercitu ccelcsti, 
sicut continetw in Apocalypsi (cap. xi.) desccndct de ccdo ad gerendum bellum contra anti- 


Christ so ; the name denotes nothing else than V.nar; is, Jehovah. 
Sabaoth, by which Christ is described as infinitively exalted above 
all human leaders of armies.) 

Ver. 17. To this description of Christ s appearing are then an 
nexed details as to the relation of those fallen asleep to the living. 
The course of events, according to the revelation made to Paul, 
will be this : first the dead in Christ shall rise, then those re 
maining alive (after they have been changed, i. e., have received 
the .glorified body clothed upon them, see 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52 ; 2 
Cor. v. 2-4) will be caught up to the Lord together with the risen 
believers. The living do not, therefore, precede those that were 
asleep (verse 15), but both come to the Lord together. Schott er 
roneously joins in this verse KV Xptaroj to dvaarrjaovra^ not to VEKQO L, 
for he thinks this passage cannot be used for the distinguishing of a 
double resurrection, that of the just, and the universal one, the 
former before, the latter after, the kingdom of God, because the 
Z&vreg ol Trepi^enronsvoi cannot refer to the universal resurrection. 
This is, no doubt, correct, for, of the Ztivreg, no resurrection what 
ever is predicated ; they are clothed over (2 Cor. v. 4, seq.) No 
thing, therefore, can be inferred from the Trptirov and en-e^ra, for 
both, the resurrection and the catching up of the living, occur be 
fore the beginning of the kingdom of God ; but there are other 
reasons which compel us to the combination ol vEnpoi iv Xptorti. 
For if the meaning of the words were : " the dead, i. e., all those 
that have died, good as well as bad, believing as well as unbelieving, 
rise by Christ s power," the apprehension of the Thessalonians 
(ver. 13) would have been wholly without foundation. How could 
they possibly have feared their dear ones that slept might be de 
barred from the joys in the kingdom of God ? if all the dead arose 
at Christ s coming, then surely theirs too must arise. This interpre 
tation, therefore, would drive us to Koppe s utterly inadmissible as 
sumption that the Thessalonians doubted the resurrection altogether: 
a doubt which Paul would have treated in a totally different way 
than is done here, as 1 Cor. xv. shews. His entire statement ac 
quires meaning solely on the supposition already mentioned, that 
he distinguishes two resurrections. That the dead of the Christian 
church there would return to life at the general awaking of the 
dead was not doubted in Thessalonica ; but, if they were awakened 
then only, they would necessarily be debarred from the kingdom of 
God, which preceded the general resurrection, and therefore it must 
have afforded them comfort to hear that those who died in Christ 
would be awakened even before the change or clothing-over of the 
living. Accordingly, if this passage, like 1 Cor. xv. 23, 24, testifies 
unmistakably to a twofold resurrection, whom have we to under 
stand by the venpol^ iv X/WCTTW ? merely those converted after the 


ascension, or the pious men of the Old Testament also ? The de 
cision of this question depends especially on our explanation of 
Matth. xxvii. 52, 53. If we find there no awaking of the dead, we 
must suppose that all those under the Old Covenant who really be 
lieved in the Messiah, as also those who at Christ s descensus adin- 
feros laid hold of the salvation preached unto them (see on 1 Pet. 
iii. 18, iv. 6), are awakened with the dead believing Christians at 
the first resurrection. Those, on the contrary, who with us find the 
awaking of the believers of the Old Testament in Matth. xxvii. 52, 
53, must assume at the first resurrection only the awaking of the 
believing Christians. We might, however, lay more stress on the 
rroA/la awMftTa, Matth. xxvii. 53, than has been done at Matth. xxvii. 
52, 53, and combine with the resurrection of Christ the awakening 
of some early-ripe natures indeed of the Old Testament, but sup 
pose the mass of them to rise only with the Christians before the 
kingdom of God. But the concluding words of iv. 17 are still to be 
considered ; these evince themselves as particularly difficult, but 
also as exceedingly influential on the doctrine of the final consum 
mation. For, did the passage run merely, KOI ap,a ovv avrolg ndv- 
TOTS avv Kvpiu taojueOa, we could only regard Paul as declaring that 
the faithful will live and reign with Christ on earth, renewed and 
restored as Paradise. (See on Kom. viii. 17, seq.) But, instead of 
that, we also find in this verse the enigmatical words : dp-^ay^ousOa 
KV vecjiK^aig dg drrdv-rjoiv rov Kvpiov elg diipa, we shall be caught up, 
etc. The meaning of these words cannot be doubtful. The quick 
and the dead (both of whom are to be imagined clothed with their 
glorified body), borne by clouds, caught up from the earth by a sud 
den power, come to meet the Redeemer descending from heaven in the 
air, and thus (ovru " under these circumstances, in the given state 
of things") are gathered together unto the Lord (see 2 Thess. ii. 1 
as to this i-mavvayuyrj nl -bv Kvpiov), therefore not on the earth, but 
in the higher regions. ( Apird&aOai is used of the forcible catching 
up through the power of the Spirit. See on 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4 ; Rev. 
xii. 5. The clouds [i. c., bright clouds, see on Matth. xxiv. 30 ; 
Acts i. 9 ; Rev. i. 9, xi. 12, xiv. 14] appear as the visible means by 
which this snatching up is performed. The phrase EI$ a^av-r\oiv 
(==. rxr^i) is found also at Matth. xxv. 1, 6 ; Acts xxviii. 15). But 
how shall we represent to ourselves this being caught up in the air 
on the part of the faithful, and their being together with Christ ? 
This question can with difficulty be answered, because in the whole 
New Testament no parallel passage affords any elucidation of the 
idea. We are in no way to regard it as an, attack upon the Jewish 
doctrine of the earthly kingdom, because this doctrine is necessarily 
presupposed in the understanding of Paul s entire statement in this 
section. It is, however, extremely probable from the doctrine of the 


New Testament as to the end of the world, and the entire character 
of the kingdom of God, that the passage must be so understood. 
We nowhere read in the New Testament, not even in the leading 
passage, Rev. xx. 4, seq. ; that Christ and the glorified believers 
will abide permanently in the Millennium on this eurth (even if it 
"be restored to the purity of Paradise). In the passage Rev. v. 10 
the Paaitevetv em rrjg j^ is to be translated : " to reign over the 
earth," and not " to reign as dwelling on the earth." To suppose a 
permanent dwelling of Christ and the saints on the earth presents 
also great objections, as leading almost unavoidably to fanatical no 
tions. By assuming, then, that Christ and his saints will, it is true, 
reign absolutely by their influence in the kingdom of God (whereas 
now many withdraw themselves from their dominion), perhaps even 
now and then appear to individuals as Christ did in the forty days 
after his resurrection, and the saints in like manner (Matth. xxvii. 
53), but not dwell permanently on earth,* this passage receives 
complete elucidation. Those risen again, like the living clothed- 
over, cannot then remain here below, but go to Christ. As, however, 
Christ is described as coming from heaven to meet them, it is not 
said elg ovpavov, but elg depa, in order to mark in a distinct manner 
the direction of the movement (in Eph. ii. 2 d?/p is used in quite 
another sense); it involves, however, the idea that the Redeemer, 
after his aim has been attained by his coming, returns with them all 
into his heavenly abode at the right hand of God. How this view 
gives to the entire doctrine of the kingdom of God an easier and 
more harmonious form, \ve shall take occasion to shew in detail in 
the Exposition of the Revelation. But in any case Usteri s asser 
tion that this passage, 1 Thess. iv. 17, in conjunction with other 
passages of Paul s epistles, " requires us to assume a progressive 
alteration in Paul s sentiments," is altogether unfounded. (See 
" St. Paul s System of Doctrine/ p. 359, seq., 4th ed.) Those other 
passages are 1 Cor. xv. 23, 51, 52, from which Usteri thinks must be 
gathered the doctrine of the continuation of the life on this earth, 
rather than that of a life in a region above the earth (in the ar/p), 
as 1 Thess. iv. 17 declares. Further, 2 Cor. v. 1, 8, is said to speak 
of a life in heaven, with the glorified body (therefore like 1 Thess. 
iv. 17), lastly, Phil. i. 23 of a being with Christ in heaven without 
bodies. But first, the latter passage is to be entirely separated 
from the rest, as it treats of the condition of the soul after death, 
and has no reference at all to the resurrection of the body and 
Christ s second coming. Secondly, as to the other passages, it is 
no doubt true that our passage declares most expressly that those 

* What classes of men in the kingdom of God are to be imagined as permanently 
dwelling on earth it will not be possible to indicate more closely till the exposition of 
Eevelutious, at xx. 3, 8. 


risen from the dead will not be on the earth itself, but, as 2 Cor. v. 
l r 8, already points to that too, so also 1 Cor. xv. is not at all 
against it. Ver. 23 alone gives the order of the series in which the 
resurrection takes place, and vers. 52, 53 describe the change of 
those living at the time of Christ s advent, but without the slightest 
intimation that they will dwell on the earth after the clothing-over. 
The only difference, as already remarked, consists in the circum 
stance that the apostle towards the end of his life no longer con 
siders the coming of Christ as so near at hand that he hoped to live 
yet to see it. (See on Phil. i. 23.) But the silence of the apostle 
regarding all that which, according to the testimony of the Revela 
tion of John, will take place after the kingdom of God, is not to be 
explained by any change of views ; for the same ideas had already 
been propounded by the Kabbins, and Paul knew them, no doubt, 
from their instruction. The reason of this silence certainly con 
sisted rather in the single fact that no doubts had been expressed in 
Thessalonica as to these far distant events. 

Finally, this representation of the end of the world by Paul de 
clares once more what we have several times already had occasion 
to remark, and shall further explain in the exposition of the Reve 
lations, viz., that the life of Christ himself may be considered 
throughout as the type of the development of the destinies of the 
church. This exaltation of believers into the air, mentioned here, 
corresponds for the whole body of believers to the event of Christ s 
ascension into heaven ; it is the elevation of the perfected be 
lievers withHheir glorified corporeity above coarse matter into the 
spiritual kingdom. 

Ver. 18. The concluding words lead us back to the kv-rreioOai 
(ver. 13). " But they are to comfort one another," as all might not 
be equally afflicted by the loss of beloved ones fallen asleep in Christ, 
and Paul s words might take effect on one earlier and more forcibly 
than on another. (HapanaXelv is construed with the dative alone, 
and with KV.- The Adyoi are to be taken here as Adyoi -7^ Triarfug > 
" words of faith," as 1 Tim. iv. 6.) 

Chap. v. 1. After this special discussion, Paul comes also to the 
general question as to the time of the coming again of the Lord. 
It is asked, what can have induced him to bring this point under 
discussion here ? From the statement in 2 Thess. ii. we might infer 
that the Christians in Thessalonica even then, when Paul wrote this 
first epistle, supposed Christ s coming too near an inference appa 
rently countenanced by the exhortation in this epistle (iv. 11), u to 
continue at their handicrafts." But the tenor of this passage does 
not by any means give the impression that Paul meant to blame the 
Thessalonians because they thought the coming of Christ too near. 
He rather blames those who talk of peace and security, and calls 


upon all to watch, that they may not be unexpectedly overtaken by 
the day of the Lord. Had he so conceived their position in regard 
to this hope as he knew it when composing the second epistle, he 
would, no doubt, have expressed himself more cautiously. But as 
Timothy had come from Thessalonica but shortly before the compo 
sition of this epistle (iii. G), it is improbable that such a tendency, 
if already developed in the Christians there, should have continued 
unknown to Paul. We must, accordingly, assume that the Thes- 
salonians, when Paul wrote the first epistle, as yet developed in no 
striking manner their error, not merely in thinking the time of 
Christ s coming possibly near at hand, but also in teaching as certain 
this nearness of his second coming. It is therefore also probable 
that the exhortation (iv. 11) not to give up their work, does not 
stand entirely parallel with the same exhortation in the second epis 
tle (chap, iii.) According to the latter, the notion of the certainly 
and infallibly imminent advent of Christ, had, no doubt, an influ 
ence on the opinion that it did not pay to earn their bread any more 
for themselves painfully with the work of their hands. On the other 
hand, at the time of the composition of the first epistle the Thes- 
salonians seem, merely out of heedlessness and religious excitement, 
to have given themselves up to idleness, which was indeed but too 
well adapted to generate such enthusiastical aberrations as Paul had 
to combat in his second epistle.. But as there must surely have 
been some motive or other which induced Paul to discuss the ques 
tion of time in connexion with the doctrine of Christ s advent, it 
seems most natural to suppose that the Thessalonians,* impelled by 
their restless zeal, had sent the question to Paul, through Timothy, 
when the advent was to be expected. Paul answers the question 
by pronouncing every settling of the time as inadmissible ; but for 
that very reason summons them to continual watchfulness. Neither 
is it to be asserted, " the Lord is coming even now !" nor yet, 
" He comes not now, but only at such and such a time ;" every 
fixing of the time, whether of a positive or negative nature, is of 
evil. Thus conceived, the doctrine of the advent is of a truly 
practical nature, in that it promotes moral watchfulness, without 
countenancing anything fanatical. (Kaipoi stands related to xpovot 
as defining it more accurately as a suitable time, appropriate to the 
circumstances. The plural, however, is explained by the considera 
tion that in the collective fact of the advent many separate points 
are contained together, which precede and succeed one another, as 
has just been discussed at iv. 16, seq.) 

Ver. 2. Paul now appeals to the knowledge which his readers 
would necessarily already possess through the oral instructions 
which he had given them ; he designates the day of the Lord as 
KAKx-rjg iv vvicri, a thief in the night, in order to express the sud- 


denness of it, no doubt with reference to the word of Christ, Matth. 
xxiv. 43 ; Luke xii. 39. We have at those passages already spoken 
of the extraordinary character of the comparison. Here we have 
only further to consider Schott s remark (ad h. 1.), in order to re 
move the stumbling block, that Christ himself is not compared with 
a thief, but only his coming with a thief s coming. Certainly ; but 
the offensive element is thus but slightly mitigated, as so many other 
nobler images presented themselves in order to express the sud 
denness of Christ s coming. We are forced, therefore, to assume 
for the explanation of the choice of this precise expression, that the 
image is conceived from a secure state of worldly possession on which 
the advent of Christ comes like the unexpected breaking of a thief 
into his well-guarded house. (Compare further 2 Pet. iii. 10 ; 
Rev. iii. 3, xvi. 15.) As to the rest, the t ^pa nvpiov is only another 
phrase for the -rrapovoia (iv. 15), but i}fipa marks more prominently 
the idea of the judgment-day, the r/juepa Arp/aeojo, to which idea 
ohedpog here points. Paul very often uses the appellation ijfitpa Kvpiov 
or Xpiorov. See 1 Cor. i. 8, v. 5 ; 2 Cor. i. 14 ; Phil. i. 6, 10 ; 2 
Thess, ii. 2. Now here in this passage the reference of the phrase 
to the coming of Christ to the kingdom of God is quite clear by 
means of the context, but usually, as in the Gospels (see on Matth. 
xxiv. 1) so also in Paul, the future decision is not conceived in its 
separate points, but these are understood collectively under that 
one expression. Though the decision did not await the Gentiles at 
the advent before the kingdom of God, but only after it, at the be 
ginning of eternity, yet Paul speaks of the day of the Lord in refer 
ence to them also (Rom. ii. 5, 16). Both older and later interpreters 
have understood here by " the day of the Lord" death ; but that is 
correct only so far as death has for all those who die before Christ s 
coming a great similarity with the event of the last judgement. For, 
though the dead will not experience the actual judgment till after 
their resurrection yet there is also a preliminary decision given with 
death itself. Thus, then, is also explained how the doctrine of 
Christ s coming again has significance for all generations, although 
that one only which lives to see it here below, experiences it in its 
effects. The whole history of the world, accordingly, as has already 
been declared in another place, is in a certain point of view a con 
tinual advent, a continual judgment of the Lord ; in every great 
event in the world, nay, in the death of every individual, the Lord 
comes and judges ! Thus the prophecy is a truth for every one, not 
merely for the few who just happen to live when the advent takes 
place. (See on Matth. xxiv. 1.) 

Ver 3. Paul uses yet a second comparison in order to illustrate 
the suddew bursting in of the day of Christ ; as a pregnant woman 
is seized quite unexpectedly with the pains of the hour of delivery, 
VOL. V 19 


so the day of Christ suddenly seizes mankind. (See as to this figure 
the remarks on Matth. xxiv. 8 ; Mark xiii. 8. It is also found very 
often in the Old Testament, especially in Jerem. vi. 24, xiii. 21, 
xxii. 23, xlix. 24, 1. 43.) It not only involves a parallel with the 
Lord s coming, in the suddenness and violence of the pain, "but points 
by a very striking figure to the circumstance that from this painful 
state a more elevated life is by the will of Grod to be generated in 
humanity. As to the rest, Paul here views Christ s coming in its 
threatening, punishing aspect, in order to excite the Thessalonians 
to serious watchfulness, lest they should grow like the God-estranged 
men of this world, whose spiritual state is denoted by the exclama 
tion, eipi ivrj KOI aofydXeia, which words Ezekiel xiii. 10 doubtless sug 
gested to the apostle. Peace and security where sin reigns, where 
a lively faith in the reconciliation and redemption in Christ is want 
ing, is pitiful self-delusion. 

Vers. 4-6. To this is now subjoined the exhortation (which ap 
pears in the form of supposing the best in the readers), not to be in 
that spiritual situation that the day of the Lord can seize upon 
them like thieves in the night ; consequently to walk in the light, 
not in darkness. Light and darkness, day and night, waking and 
sleeping, to be sober and to be drunk, are treated as synonyms and 
correlatives, as in numberless passages of Scripture. (See John iii. 
19, viii. 12 ; Eom. ii. 19 ; Eph. v. 8, vi. 14 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 13 ; 2 
Tim. iv. 5 ; 1 Pet. i. 13, iv. 7, v. 8.) The reading K^enrag in these 
verses, which is supported by A.B., and justly received by Lach- 
mann, is important ; for K/U TTT^ might very easily have been 
altered from ver. 2, but the correction into /cAeTrraf is exceedingly im 
probable. The K^KTT-ai are then represented as viol OKOTOVZ, who ply 
their trade in darkness. (In verse 4 iva can only, as Schott justly 
observes in opposition to Fritzsche, by doing the greatest violence to 
the sentence, be taken ~e/U-wc, for the ovtc KOTK kv andrei is a premiss, 
"ye are certainly, as I know, not in darkness," which a particle 
strictly denoting purpose in no wise suits, especially as it is followed 
subsequently by yap. In the well-known formula viol 0o)roc, fyiKpag, 
more is couched than a mere external relation ; it expresses the idea 
of having received one s higher life from the light and its sanctify 
ing influence.) 

Vers. 7, 8. Paul designates the night as that time in which sleep 
and drunkenness usually take place ; those things, therefore, no 
longer become those who have night in the spiritual sense behind 
them ; they are awake and armed for the combat. The metaphor 
of arming we became fully acquainted with at Eph. vi. 10, seq., and 
there also spoke of the discrepancies which are found between the 
two passages in the comparison of the several weapons with differ 
ent Christian virtues. As to the rest, we find the order of succes- 


Bion of the three Christian cardinal virtues here again just as in i. 3, 
where see the Commentary. 

Yers. 9-11. Paul fastens on the Ikmg <7&m?pzf in order to ex 
press the idea, that G-od hath not appointed the faithful to wrath, 
but to salvation, that therefore also the clay of the Lord brings 
them not destruction, but blessing. "EOero involves undoubtedly 
the election of grace by God, but only in the sense of a prcedesti- 
natio sanctorum, as has- been proved at Bom. ix. to be scriptural, 
and especially to be Paul s doctrine. The atoning death of Christ 
is named as the means by which salvation is realized according 
to God s ordinance. The tl re ypT/yopw^ev, e lre naOevdufiev , ivhcther 
we wake or sleep, seems strange at first sight, as in ver. 6 sleep 
ing among the faithful was altogether denied. But it is clear that, 
the two expressions are here*used in a totally different sense, viz., 
as antithesis to tf]v and as = noifiaoOaij iv. 13, seq. Paul again 
connects his discourse with the previous discussion, in which he 
had made it clear that those fallen asleep in Christ forfeit nothing 
of their blessedness ; with a reference to that he says, we believers 
shall live with Christ (iv. 17), whether we be still in the body, 
when he cometh, or already fallen asleep. (Compare Rom. xiv. 
8.) As to the rest, Kadevdeiv is found in no other passage of the 
New Testament used of death, for in the history of the awakening 
of Jairus daughter (Matth. ix. 24 ; Mark v. 39 ; Luke viii. 52) 
it means, in opposition to d-rrtOave, really " to sleep :" KotfidaOat. is 
everywhere else found of the death-sleep. In like manner ywyoptiv 
is found nowhere else in the meaning " to live, to walk in the body." 
The passage, therefore, bears certainly a singular character, and the 
more so indeed, as none can avoid the impression that a preference 
is given the yp^yope/v, as the state of waking consciousness, over the 
KaOt-vduv, w r hereas we are inclined to claim for the soul of the pious 
man released from the body a higher degree of consciousness.* 
However, this difficulty is solved on the ground already detailed at 
1 Cor. xv. 19, 20. From the representation of the New Testament 
the state of the soul separated from the body is not, it is true, an 
unconscious one, but yet of such a nature that the consciousness 
appears depressed. Complete self-consciousness reappears only with 
the resurrection of the body ; a living on without bodily resurrection 
Paul treats (1 Cor. xv.) as a losing of eternal life. The striking 
part of the passage thus lies purely in the use of the words chosen, 
arid not in the idea. Verse 11 then closes, like iv. 18, with a sum 
mons to reciprocal encouragement and edification. (Ver. 9. Ilepi- 

* How universally this notion is spread appears from the ordinary mode of expres 
sion used in reference to the dead : " now everything is clear to them, the veil is removed 
from them 1" from which it appears unmistakcably that wo conceive tho connection of 
the soul with the body as a hindcranco to complete consciousness. 


C, "attaining, acquiring," Paul uses also at 2 Thess. ii. 14; 
Eph. i. 14 ; it is also found Heb. x. 39 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9. Ver. 10. As 
to the use of the conjunctive instead of the optative in this passage, 
see Winer s Gr. 41, b, 1, p. 257 ; 41, c, note, p. 2G3. Ver. 11. 
Etf rov Zva = dkkijkovg iv. 18 is found in profane writers also. See 
Kypkeobs. p. 339.) 

(v. 12-28.) 

Vers. 12, 13. The first two verses of the closing exhortations 
which follow, concern the relation of the readers to the teachers and 
heads of the church. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians duly to hon 
our them in their position. As nothing similar is found in the 
second epistle, and no express polemical doctrine shews itself in this 
passage, nothing obliges us to suppose that in Thessalonica theo 
retical or practical errors in regard to the relation of laymen to the 
teachers of the church had been disseminated. As it is inherent in 
human nature that such errors ever and everywhere appear in indi 
viduals, because obedience and subordination are such difficult duties, 
it may reasonably be supposed that Paul found himself impelled to 
give his precepts merely with a view to the relation as such. True, 
the slight intimation v. 27 (of which passage see the explanation) 
might seem to countenance the idea that the relation between the 
church and its heads was not altogether untroubled. Yet nothing 
certain can be deduced from that. So much, however, results un- 
mistakeably from these verses, viz., that Paul supposes a difference 
among the members of the church. All do not stand on a level 
according to the principles of democratical equality, but there are 
teachers and learners, leaders and led, as appears clearly in the 
Epistles to Timothy and Titus. As to the rest, the terms by which 
the teachers are here designated are to be taken so that the appel 
lative ol KOTntivTes iv v[uv designates them quite generally as labour 
ers (iv vfuv is to be taken in the sense " among you/ not as = iv 
ralg aapdiaig v[i&v } as Flatt and Pelt insist ; for the question is not 
merely of a purely inward labour, but also of outward guidance of 
the church). On the other hand, 7Tpoio~dfj.evoi } presiding, and vov- 
Oerovvreg, admonishing, do not denote, for instance, two other classes 
along with the KOTTitivreg, but two different forms of the labours of 
the KOTTiwvrec, as is clear from the absence of the article. Labour in 
the church might be more external or more spiritual ; the former is 
the npoloraadai (compare 1 Tim. v. 17, where -rrpoea-^-sg are named), 
the latter the vovOerelv. Whether, indeed, Paul already conceives 


these two forms of labour in the church as two entirely separate 
church-offices, may, it is true, appear uncertain, considering the 
church in Thessalonica was so young, and, no doubt, small too ; but 
in later times (see 1 Cor. xii. 8 ; Eph. iv. 11 ; 1 Tim. iv. 17) such a 
distinction between the offices is decidedly expressed. (Ver. 12. 
Eldtvai is used, after the analogy of the Hebr. an;, Gen. xxxix. 6, 
Prov. xxxi. 23, and the Latin respicere, in the sense of respectful 
acknowledgment. See 1 Cor. xvi. 18. Ver. 13. Y~epeKmptoaov } see 
iii. 10. The phrase rijeloOai rtva ev dydnq is harsh. Schott com 
pares Job xxxv. 2, I lyeiadai ~i KV icpiasi, tJ2t"/a^ aeh. The phrase de 
notes the esteem and love which are equally due to the rulers of the 
church for their painful labour so beneficial to the laity. Elprjvevere 
KV EavTolg, be at peace among yourselves, seems, it is true, to point to 
disputes among the Christians in Thessalonica ; yet this by no 
means accords with the whole remaining contents of the epistle, 
which breathe only acknowledgment on the part of the apostle. 
(But compare v. 27.) True, we cannot well take the words by them 
selves as an independent exhortation, nor annex them to what fol 
lows, because the -rrapaKaXoviJ,ev dz vpdg answers to the t pwrwjuev 6Z i-j-tdg 
(ver. 12) and marks a fresh beginning ; but they afford a very good 
sense in connection with what precedes, if we regard the exhorta 
tion to preserve the proper relation towards the labourers for the 
church as, in conclusion, comprised in the exhortation to peace. 
Where teachers and taught stand in a false position towards each 
other, there the peace of the church is already undermined. D.E. 
Gr. read avrolq for iavrolg, but it is presumably only a slip of the pen 
for av-olg. Finally, it is again to be taken, as in ver. 12, in the 
meaning KV peay i juwv.) 

Ver. 14. As to the rest, how far Paul is from hierarchical 
notions of the dignity of the rulers is shewn by the circumstance 
that he here immediately summons all to the vovderelv, admonish 
ing, which he seemed in ver. 12 to assign to the labourers alone. 
(The exhortation to warn the a-an-oL, i. e., to return to subordina 
tion, refers, it maybe supposed, to the state of things brought under 
discussion in 1 Thess. iv. 11 ; 2 Thess. iii. 6, 11. OXtyo^vxog is found 
nowhere in the New Testament but here, often, however, in the 
LXX. for the Hebrew -vs;? or rp-i-Vsa, Isaiah liv. 6, Ivii. 15, Prov. 
xiv. 29. A.v-K%oOai, " to care for one, to support one." See Matth. 
vi. 24 ; Luke xvi. 13. The doOevtig are doubtless to be understood 
less of the bodily, than of the spiritually, weak. The -rrpbg mivrag 
is more accurately defined by the elg tU/bfAov? /rat elg Trdvrac, which 
follows in ver. 15, as embracing the absolute universality of all 

Vers. 15-18. There now follows a series of single exhortations, 
which altogether presuppose the highest moral standing, as it reigns, 


c. g., in the sermon on the mount, and seem in part formed on well- 
known utterances of the Lord. Ver. 15 answers in meaning to 
Matth. v. 44, in words to Kom. xii. 17 ; 1 Peter, iii. 9. (See as to 
ooaVj in the sense sibi cavere, for which pke-xeiv also stands Matth. 
viii. 4. xviii. 10. To dyadov is here to be taken, as at Matth.- vii. 11, 
in the sense, " the beneficial, useful," in opposition to /ca;6V.) In 
ver. 16 irdvTQre %cupere is to be explained as at Phil. iii. 1. -Ver. 17 
is to be understood, from- Luke xviii. 1 ; Kom. xii. 12 ; Eph. vi. 18 ; 
Col. iv. 2, not of merely frequent, but of unceasing, prayer (ddtatem- 
rcjf, see i. 2), i. e., of a pervading tendency of life directed towards 
God. Finally, Paul in ver. 18 exhorts to thanksgiving unto God 
under all circumstances, be they pleasant or unpleasant. (Eph. v. 
20.) This thankful state of mind is to be considered as the expres 
sion of childlike dependence on God, which in every state of things, 
even in what is unpleasant, honours God s will. The rovro yap 
deXrjfia (comp. iv. 3) can be referred only to e^apfcrreZv, "it is God s 
will that you give thanks for all things ;" rovro cannot be taken, 
with Storr roiovro } as if the meaning were, " God s will is of such 
a nature towards you, that you have only cause to thank him, as 
he does you only good." Such an exchange of rovro and roiovro 
is contrary to usage. As to the rest, definite reasons cannot be 
shewn for the position of the several propositions ; they might be 
equally well arranged in the inverse order. 

Vers. 19-22. The next exhortation, TO -nvEvfia p) ofievvvre sup 
poses the comparison of the Spirit to a candle or fire, which, as is 
well-known, is frequently found in the New Testament, and has 
occasioned various modes of expression. (See John iv. 24 ; Eph. 
vi, 16 ; 2 Tim. 6 ; Heb. xii. 29.) But the question whether rrvevpa 
is to be taken here as an ethico-religious principle, or as the source 
of the Charismata, is to be altogether declined, because the two 
cannot be separated, or at least did not appear separately in the 
apostolical times. Where the Spirit was, he shewed himself alike 
in moral and religious relations, and in the extraordinary gifts. 
But, as the efficacy of the Spirit was outwardly recognizable iii the 
Charismata, and in these a quenching was alone possible, as perhaps 
from fear of enthusiasm, which in his strictly spiritual influences 
was out of the question (for who would have thought of quenching 
the virtues of faith, love, and hope, called forth by the Holy Ghost ?) 
we are therefore to refer the -rrvsvpa primarily to the gifts. To this 
also what follows adjusts itself, in which a particular form of Cha 
risma, viz., the TTpo^rjreia, is especially brought forward and recom 
mended. (See at 1 Cor. xii. 4, seq., xiv. 1, seq.) As to the rest, 
we plainly see, from these exhortations, that Paul had no presenti 
ment at the time when he wrote this, that the Christians in Thessa- 
lonica were in danger of becoming a prey to fanaticism, though 


tills, according to the second epistle, was subsequently the case. 
True, the ir-pcKprj-eiag p) K^ovdevelre, considered by itself, might be 
understood as indicating Paul s wish to make the Thessalonians, like 
the Corinthians (1 Cor. xiv. 1, seq.), observe the value of calm con 
scious prophesying over the more fanatical tongue-haranguing. But 
the " quench not the Spirit" does not allow this explanation. This 
exhortation must rather have inspired the Christians in Thessalonica 
with the sorrowful conviction that all gifts might easily give occa 
sion for abuses, and led them, to avoid these, to slight the gifts them 
selves. When Paul at a later date wrote the Epistles to the Corinth 
ians, he himself even found it proper to moderate the over-estimation 
of them, and at length in his latest epistles the gifts retreat entirely 
into the background, as is especially shewn in the pastoral epistles. 
Ver. 21. It is clear from the context that the words, ~dvra 6s 
doKLjid&re, n. r. A., are not to be taken in the totally general sense in 
which they are usually employed ; they rather refer to the Charisma 
of the dtditpiaig nvevfidrui^ 1 Cor. xii. 10, 30 ; 1 John iv. 1. The 
readers are called on to prove the representations of the prophets by 
the gift of proving, dwelling in them ; the individual gifts are to 
complete and rectify one another. (Compare the remarks in the 
Conim. on 1 Cor. xii. 10, xiv. 29.) Here, then, reason, as man s 
natural power, is not set up for a judge over Divine revelation, but 
by God s ordinance the modes of operation of the Holy Ghost are 
variously distributed, so that in some the communication of what is 
new predominates, in others the criticism of what is communicated.* 
The words in ver. 22, CLTTO -avrbg eldovg, K. r. A., form no fresh sen 
tence, but only the complement to the TO naXov nare^sre. The import, 
therefore, of the dbnipd&iv (= Kpiveiv, to separate, to sift), is divided 
into its two aspects, into the recognizing of the good and the rejec 
tion of the evil, which latter has mixed up the sinfulness of the pro 
phets with the Divine power operating in them. It can only be 
doubtful how the eldovg is to be taken. The meaning " appearance" 
is inadmissible because the combination ddog novijpov is without ex 
ample, and the idea of abstaining from evil o.ppearance does not 
accord with what precedes. The application of this meaning, there 
fore, would require that we construct ver. 22 with ver. 23 : but this 
too is inappropriate. The exhortation to abstain from evil appear 
ance, presupposes that they are already free from evil itself; but in 
ver. 23 that deliverance from evil seems in the dyidaai, K. r. A., to be 
only gained by prayer. And even if this admits of being set aside 
by the remark that dyidaai here can only be understood of the growth 
of the already existing pure new man, yet the av-bg d : K. r. A., -shews 
that something new is to follow. EMof is, therefore, to be taken in 

* In meaning the exhortation coincides with the well-known apocryphal utterance 
of Christ s: ylvEaOe fpoviftoi rpa-e^lrat. 


the signification, " species, sort," as Joseplms (Arch. x. 3, 1) writes 
ndv eldog TTovrjpiag, so that Trovrjpov is taken as a substantive. (Ver. 
21. The conjecture Trvevfiara for -ndvra is not only unnecessary, but 
inapposite ; the discourse is not of distinguishing true and false 
prophets, but only true and untrue utterances of those to whom the 
gift of prophecy belonged.) 

Vers. 23, 24. As the Thessalonians are, as members of the 
Christian church, already aytoi, i. e., set apart from the sinful world, 
filled with the principle of true holiness (see at Eom. i. 7), stress is 
especially to be laid on the 6ho-e/.elg. Sanctification extends itself 
only by degrees over the collective powers and qualities of man ; it 
is precisely progress in this process of glorification and the preserva 
tion of the whole personality spotless, till the judgment at Christ s 
coming (iii. 13), that Paul wishes them in these words, and that 
too, as no one can sanctify himself by his own power, from God him 
self, through his Spirit. But God is here called Qeog ri\q elpijvrjg, be 
cause sanctification is the condition of outward and inward peace ; 
God, therefore, who carries peace in himself, will also impart it to 
men through sanctification. ( OAoreAr/f is found only here in the 
New Testament. Aquila renders Dent. xiii. 17/V^s, by oAo-eAwc. 
It stands here quite synonymous with 6/t<kA7?pof, which, according 
to James i. 4, is found in the meaning of rt /Letof, as it also often occurs 
in the LXX. and Josephus for fcVsj or ft^fctj. Of course the 6A<k/l?7pov 
refers to every single one of the three parts of human nature named. 
Each is to be preserved entire in itself, and all together to be kept 
spotless. By sin not only the mutual relation of the parts, but also 
the stability of each single one by itself, may be weakened.) That, 
lastly, the juxtaposition of the three terms, -rrvevficf, ipvx% o&na, is not 
a mere rhetorical amplification for the idea of the totality, nor yet 
that rTVvfj.a can be understood of the Divine Spirit, but denotes the 
human spirit (see on Rom. viii. 1G) is acknowledged by the latest 
interpreters, though Pelt and Schott will not admit that the distin 
guishing of 7TVv[j,a and ^vxn pervades the anthropological system of 
Paul and of the Bible generally. But, as the distinguishing of 
Ttvevna and ^v^rj here cannot surely be merely accidental, a differ 
ence in the use of the two expressions can be proved to exist else 
where also (although in many passages, where nothing depends ex 
actly on accurate distinctions, the one expression also stands, and 
may stand, for the other) as, lastly, the partition into spirit, soul 
and body, was current among the Jews, just as among the Platon- 
ists ; it appears, even where we cannot ourselves recognize this 
division, indispensable, under a purely historical view, to acknowledge 
the triple division of human nature as a doctrine of the apostolical 
age. But, in fact, it follows that many Christian points of doctrine 
(particularly, the doctrines of regeneration, of the relation of the old 


to the new man, and whatever connects itself with this), can "be 
made intelligible only by assuming the distinction between spirit 
and soul. We have, therefore, by continued investigation been only 
more and more convinced of the correctness of the result of our 
treatise de trichotomia humance natures (printed in the opusc. theol., 
pp. 143, seq.), which in essentials Vitringa also had already (observ. 
sacr., pp. 549, seq.) in earlier times expressed in reference to cabal 
istic* and Platonist views, just as in later times Usteri (in " the 
system of St. Paul," pp. 404, seq.) at least recognized it as an historical 
fact. For, whilst the V^/K ? denotes the lower region of the spiritual 
man comprises therefore the powers to which analogous ones are 
found in animal life also, as understanding (0pevef), appetitive faculty 
(icapdia), memory, fancy the nvev^ia includes those capacities which 
constitute the true human life, viz., reason (i oDf), as the faculty of 
perceiving the divine ; conscience, as the faculty of distinguishing 
moral good and evil ; free-will, as the faculty of moral choice, which 
alone renders us proper subjects of history. Just according to the 
predominance of the one or the other principle in man he appears 
either as -n-vevnariKog or i/w WKog, or even aapntKog. The Divine Spirit, 
attaching itself to the human spirit weakened by sin, and filling it 
with complete energy, frees man from the power of sin which rules 
him, and exhibits him as -nvev^artnog in the full sense of the word. (See 
the remarks on Eom. vii. 23 to viii. 3.) The certainty of the fulfil 
ment of the wish for his readers expressed in ver. 23 Paul now finds 
(ver. 24) grounded in the faithfulness of God, who has called them 
unto participation in the merits of Christ ; the will of God exhib 
ited in this calling will also, in accordance with his unchangeable- 
ness, arrive at completion. The necessity that is couched in this 
idea is to be referred to the prcedestinatio sanctorum alone, in the 
sense in which we set it forth as a doctrine of Scripture at Romans 
ix. 1. Paul does not mean here to say that God knows how to 
make good his calling by the force of his gratia irresistibilis even 
to the complete sanctification of man against his free will ; but God 
knows how to lead the will of man through the influences of his 
grace itself to full concordance with his holy decrees. The possibility 
of resistance is not by this excluded ; it remains to man even aftei 
his conversion, but then to the all-knowing eye of God, no true call 
ing takes place in the rebellious. As to the rest, the 5f icai ^oii\ou 
is elliptical ; copyists, therefore, might easily feel themselves obliged 

* The Cabbalists assumed, in appearance only, besides i-p^and sjsj; also ntefci as dif 
ferent from both ; therefore three spiritual powers, and, with the corporeity, four parts 
of human nature. For rnses answers to the irvevfta ayiov of the Xew Testament, which 
also Paul from the human m evfia (Rom. viii. 16), so that in the regenerate 
man also three spiritual powers are to be supposed ; but the Trvev,ua ayLov is not an in 
tegral part of human nature, but a divine influence in him, which elevates it above 


to complete the sentence. In some, though unimportant, MSS. we 
find the addition, rrjv iX-rrida vptiv pefiaiav. But it seems more suit 
able to supply merely ravra TTavra, inasmuch as the rroielv is most 
naturally referred to what is prayed for in ver. 23. (On maTog 
6 0e6f see at 1 Cor. i. 9, x. 13.) 

Yers. 25-28. The recommendation of praying for him, and the 
commission to greet all the brethren with the holy kiss, are also 
found Rom. xv. 30 ; Col. iv. 3 ; Rom. xvi. 16 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 20 ; 2 
Cor. xiii. 12, on which passages see the Commentary. In the three 
last-cited passages indeed it is always said dandoaoOe a/tAr/Aou^, 
whereas here the commission is given to some to kiss all the other 
brethren. But this is sufficiently explained by the fact that, as ver. 
27 clearly shews, this epistle is primarily addressed to the rulers of the 
church, yet only as being at the same time designed for the whole 
brotherhood. It was, therefore, we may suppose, delivered to the 
elders according to Paul s intention, read first by them, and then 
read out to the whole church in public assembly. But that Paul 
lays this injunction on the elders with the formula of adjuration, 
6p/w v[j,dg rbv nvptov, so emphatically, is certainly striking, and 
points to a special reason to us unknown. If we look back to vers. 

12, 13, we might think that at least slight traces of differences be 
tween the church in Thessalonica and its rulers might be discerned, 
and that Paul, therefore, apprehended the rulers might not com 
municate the epistle to all. Michaelis proposed, with reference to 
the fact that an epistle had been forged (2 Thess. ii. 2), to under 
stand dvayivuouEiv of the recognition of the epistle as a genuine 
production of the apostle by the entire church. But the term con 
stantly denotes in Paul, " to read, to read to," only. (See especially 
Col. iv. 16.) Besides, surely Paul cannot possibly here take cogni 
zance of a fact that only happened later. ( r Op/aw, with a double 
accusative in the meaning obtestari aliquem per, with v{\ to be sup 
plied, is found again in the New Testament at Mark v. 7 : Acts xix. 

13. Lachmann has, on the authority of A.B.D.E., preferred evopKifa, 
which, at all events, has the rareness of the form in its favour. The 
same critic, supported by the authority of B.D.E.F.G., leaves out 
dyiois, but the rareness of the term, " holy brethren," which is only 
found at Col. i. 2 ; Heb. iii. 1, renders it more probable that it is 
here the original form. The a/^v after the benediction is, like the 
subscription, certainly spurious here.) 



(i. 1-12.) 

AFTER the salutation, which coincides literally with that of the 
first epistle (see the explanation of 1 Thcss. i. 1), Paul begins, just 
as at 1 Thess. i. 2, to express his thanks to God on account of their 
faith and love (ver. 3). This seems somewhat extraordinary, as he 
had by no means, as chap. ii. shews, reason to be so well satisfied 
with the then state of the church as art the time of the composi 
tion of the first epistle. In the short time which might separate 
the dates of the two epistles circumstances had already greatly 
changed, and the originally weak stirrings of enthusiasm were come 
to their full development. Nevertheless, Paul might, in spite 
of those aberrations, which he assails in chap. iii. with such em 
phatic denunciations, with a good conscience thankfully acknowl 
edge the faith and love of the Thessalonians, as those aberrations 
proceeded not from unbelief, but rather from a too great eager 
ness of belief, to which only a clear judgment was wanting. This 
excessive eagerness of belief Paul perhaps indulgently points to 
by the expression vTrepavtidveiv, which can scarcely be regarded as 
a mere intensification of the simple verb. (Ver. 3. The icaO&$ 
d&ov t-c-rt is to be referred not so much to the greatness of the 
thanks, as to their intrinsic necessity. It cannot be inferred from 
the tvb<; KKaorov that absolutely no differences existed among the 
Thessalonians ; chap. iii. shews the contrary. But Paul recognizes 
even in these differences a foundation of love, which only mani 
fested itself in them in a perverted form of application ; they had 
both faith and love, without being as yet able rightly to direct them 
by wisdom.) 

y er . 4._Just as at 1 Thess. i. 7, ii. 19, Paul again describes the 
Thessalonians with their powerful faith, which approved itself so 


brilliantly in persecutions, as his glory before the churches of God. 
n/CTTewf, as the more general idea, might be expected here to pre 
cede vnofiovrjg. This in fact would have been requisite, if with Schott 
we assumed a Hendiadys, making vnofj.ovr) m martg stand for marts 
vrrofiKvovoa a construction not to be admitted, even apart from the 
fact that faith in the general sense is always to be conceived as 
vrroiiKvovoa, and the construction therefore would involve a pleonasm. 
But mang in the definite reference to persecutions is to be taken 
here not in the general, but in the special sense, as in Horn, xiv., 
viz., solely of the irrefragable fixedness of conviction which allows 
itself to be perplexed by no combats, without reference to the ob 
ject of faith. In ver. 3, on the contrary, marts is to be taken in the 
comprehensive sense, therefore also with reference to the contents of 
the gospel which are believed. (The alg dvK%oOe explains more 
nearly the dtwy^otf vp&v. Atf stands, by the well-known law of at 
traction, for ag. The present indicates the continuance of the per 
secutions when Paul wrote.) 

Ver. 5. Now Paul finds in this approving of their patience and 
faith in every combat an evidence of the just judgment of God, that 
they may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they 
suffer. The words HvdeLjim ri\g .dutaiag Kploeug rov Qeov unite them 
selves very strictly with the preceding idea of the sufferings en 
dured with patience and faith ; so that it stands for fig evdetyfia or 
KvSeiyimrt, which some MSS. also read by a facilitating correction. 
(Hesychius interprets Hvdetypa by d-odei&g. At Phil. i. 28 the form 
Kvda^tg is found for it, in the same meaning, " evidence, proof.") 
The language is commonly so explained as to refer dutaia Kpiaig to 
the future judging of the world ; but how can the present, pa 
tiently endured suffering for the sake of the kingdom of God be an 
evidence of the future righteous judgment of God ? It is said, in so 
far as God will in his future judgment reward those who have suf 
fered for the sake of the good, and punish the persecutors. But it 
is not seen by the present that God rewards the good ; to take their 
patience as reward might certainly be too bold ; hence it is also in 
apposite to make the present an evidence for the future. The pas 
sage becomes clear only as we conceive the present sufferings even 
already as an expression of the present righteous judgment of God. 
The parallel passage 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18, sheds light upon this idea. 
The sufferings of the church are there called TO Kptpa rov oucov rov 
Qeov, tlie judgment of the house of God; the judging of the world 
begins with the faithful ; and their sufferings are represented as a 
means of perfection for the faithful. In like manner Paul too here 
(comp. at 1 Thess. iii. 4) contemplates their sufferings as a testi 
mony that God is executing his just judgment on them, not how 
ever to destroy them, but to perfect them, and so make them 


worthy of God s kingdom. By this kingdom is of course, from the 
historical connexion of the two epistles, to be understood the king 
dom of God on earth expected as quite near at hand. Even for 
that reason alone the Sinaia Kpiaig cannot be the universal judg 
ment of the world, because that will not take place till after the 
kingdom of God on earth. Trrt-p ? T /$- nal ndoxere, for which also ye 
suffer, of course implies no purchasing the kingdom of God by suf 
ferings as meritorious ; as vrrtp here denotes only the object of the 
suffering, " for the sake of which ye also suffer, which ye therefore 
represent, in that ye bear it in you, and to which ye, accordingly, 
must also at some time outwardly belong." (The compound icara- 
giuOrjvai does not differ in meaning from the simple verb. See Luke 
xx. 35, xxi. 36 ; Acts v. 41.) 

Vers. 6, 7. And now the judicial action of God is described in 
detail, as it manifests itself in Christ s advent (vers. 6-10). This 
detail does not connect itself with evdeiyfia diitaiag Kpias^, but by 
Elnsp diKaiov with the words elg ~b Kara&uOrjvai, K. -. A. Suffering 
here below in the cause of what is good supposes also, in conformity 
with God s justice, the receiving the reward of fidelity. As in the 
whole course of the world s history, so also in the coming of Christ, 
God manifests himself as the just One, who weighs out reward and 
punishment by an unalterable law. This, however, is not yet the 
Kpiau; t 0%dT?7, which does not take place till the general resurrection 
after the kingdom of God. (See on Matth. xxv. 1, xxiv. 31 ; Rev. 
xx. 12, seq.) Justice is here conceived quite in its strict form, as 
jus talionis; the afflicters are requited with affliction, the afflicted 
rewarded with rest (dveaig). It need not be mentioned that the 
affliction, as such, is not here represented as giving a title to peace 
and comfort in the kingdom of God, without looking at the dispo 
sition with which it is undergone, but that the patient, believing 
endurance of it must be supplied as described in ver. 4. Just as 
little does the diicaiov form an antithesis with the Divine grace ; 
Paul does not mean to say God must grant the eternal happiness of 
the believing sufferers it can be demanded of him. The point of 
view is, as at Rom. ii. 5, 6, one of purely judicial retribution, without 
denying the applicability of another principle also which Paul de 
clares at Rom. xi. 35, according to which the worthiness of man at the 
tribunal of God is itself God s work. (Ver. 6. As to et-ep, siquidem, 
see Rom. viii. 9, 17 ; 1 Pet. ii. 3. It is not, however, here to be trans 
lated " provided only," but " if, that is to say," with an assumption 
of the certainty that it is so, whereas " provided only" admits the pos 
sibility of the contrary. ITapa = i^V. AvTcnrodovvat,, see Luke xiv. 
14 ; Rom. xii. 19 ; 1 Thess. iii. 9. Ver. 7. On aveoi? see 2 Cor. vii. 
5, viii. 13. It is = dvdipvfa, Acts iii. 19, which is equally used of 
the kingdom of God also. The ueO iiu&v is to be referred to Paul 


and his companions. Of these, after their election by grace, the 
attainment of eternal happiness in the kingdom of God is so confi 
dently assumed, that the others are designated as uniting themselves 
to them, who constitute the flower of the inhabitants of the kingdom 
of God. The dnoKdhvipig err ovpavov = Karafiaiveiv drr ovpavov de 
scribed 1 Thess. iv. 16.) 

Ver. 8. Christ s coming is now again described (comp. 1 Thess. 
iii. 13, iv. 16), as accompanied by angels. As, however, the article 
is wanting, we can only suppose some angels, not the whole count 
less army of angels, as has been already remarked at the passages 
cited. As tivvapig stands after dyyeA&jv, it cannot, of course, be 
taken, with Michaelis, in the meaning " army," but designates, con 
joined with d yyeAoi, the angels as servants and executors of the power 
of Christ. A new feature in the picture of the advent, as Paul 
sketches it, which did not occur at 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17, is iv irvpl 
0/toydfj for which Lachmann, after important authorities, has adopted 
iv 0Aoyt TTvpog. But this reading is easily explained by the endea 
vour to bring the phrase nearer the usual mode of expression, which 
speaks of a flame of fire, i. e., fire-flame, indeed, but not of a fire 
of flame. But here the latter is the more appropriate. For the 
reference here is not to a single fire-flame, but to a flaming, glow 
ing fire, in opposition to a low fire not breaking out into bright 
flames. This is here named as the element which consumes all 
that resists, and lends at the same time its fearful brightness to the 
appearance of the divinity. (Compare Ex. iii. 2, seq. ; Dan. vii. 9, 
seq.) It stands, therefore, = to iv -q 66%q avrov, Matth. xxv. 31, or 
to the 7Ti roiv vefyeX&v rov ovpavov, ibid. xxvi. 64, by which, as has 
already been remarked at 1 Thess. iv. 17, bright clouds are to be 
understood. The description at Rev. xix. 12, where Christ is rep 
resented in his advent as sitting on a white horse, and with eyes $ 
</lo nvpog } is, according to the analysis of the figurative language 
of the Apocalypse, also parallel to this passage. The punitive aspect 
of Christ s coming is here now particularly treated of, not cer 
tainly that the Thessalonians might feast to their heart s content 
on the future punishment of their persecutors, but as a warning to 
deter them from falling away. For the Scriptures know no such 
pretended divestment of all egoism, that man needs as motives 
neither fear nor hope, whether of damnation or eternal happiness ; 
and rightly, for it exhibits itself either as a fanatical error, as in 
Madame Guyon, or, which is doubtless the most common, as indif 
ference and torpidity. The repetition of the article before vrtaaovovot 
certainly countenances the idea that Paul means to name two 
classes of persons who will not escape punishment at Christ s coming. 
But the supposition that the class " who knew not God" are the 
Gentiles, and " those who obey not the gospel" the Jews, is refuted 


even by the fact that many Gentiles did not receive the gospel 
offered to them, and, on the other hand, many Jews did not know 
God, that is to say in reality (John viii. 54, seq., xv. 21, seq.); for 
a merely outward knowledge of the existence of God cannot surely 
he meant here ; only the true imyvuaiq TOV Qeov is everlasting life 
(John xvii. 3). The two phrases denote not classes of nations, hut 
moral conditions ; those among the Jews and the Gentiles who 
knew not God in the sense pointed out, and were not obedient to the 
gospel which was preached unto them, and whose Divine power 
touched their hearts meet with their recompense in the day of the 
Lord (see 2 Thess. ii. 11). There is, indeed, also couched in them, 
that not all the so-called Gentiles are rejected as suck, but only those 
who were not true to the light that shone even for them too, but 
by actual sins augmented their original sin to the complete blind 
ing of the spiritual eye. Comp. on Kom. i. 19, 20, ii. 14, 15, 26. 
( EndiMjaiv didovai or ~otelv = endi/ceii . Cornp. Luke xviii. 7, seq. ] 
Acts vii. 24.) 

Ver. 9. "OheOpog aluvwg, everlasting destruction, is named as the 
punishment which the reprobate (by which, according to ii. 8, Anti 
christ with his followers is to be understood), at the corning of 
Christ have to suffer. This is the only passage in Paul s epistles 
in which everlasting damnation is openly declared, whereas not 
a few occur in which a restoration of all the lost is apparently 
assumed as possible. (See at 1 Cor. xv. 25-28.) For, although 
little can be inferred from aluviog considered in itself, as it might 
also denote merely an uncommonly long time, yet it is not to be 
disputed that a comparison with the formula ?/ aluviog does not 
permit us to interpret the phrase ohtOpog aluviog otherwise than 
of everlasting damnation. For the supposition that Paul did in 
deed in this earliest of his epistles still teach everlasting damnation, 
but subsequently relinquished it, there exists no sufficient founda 
tion, because the restoration is nowhere freely and openly declared. 
This alone admits of being maintained : that among the writers of 
the New Testament Paul throws the doctrine of everlasting damna 
tion most into the shade, and affords the defenders of the Apoca- 
tastasis the most plausible support. (The formula dlnriv, ^dav 
rieiv, so common in the profane writers, is found in the New Tes 
tament here alone. "OfoOpog is used in the New Testament by 
Paul alone, 1 Cor. v. 5 ; 1 Thess. v. 3 ; 1 Tim. vi. 9. In the 
last passage it stands beside aTrwAem, which is elsewhere commonly 
used as an antithesis to aurrjpia. ) It is very difficult to decide 
how diro is to be taken in the concluding words of vcr. 9. For 
it may merely denote the source of the punishment, or the sep 
aration of the reprobate from the face of the Lord. Flatt, Storr, 
and Pelt, among others, advocate the former, either taking -poa- 


u~ov Kvpiov as a mere circumlocution for the person of the Lord, or 
understanding npoaurrov emphatically of the threatening, avenging 
countenance. The latter interpretation is defended by Beza, Mi- 
chaelis, Koppe, and Schott. The decision is very difficult, be 
cause the two parallel members of the sentence, anb rrpoaunov ~ov 
Kvpiov and dnb rfa dofyg -fa IO^VOQ avrov, seem to favour the two 
different interpretations. The words " from the face of the Lord" 
argue for the idea of separation, because the looking on the face 
of the Lord is used to denote the presence of God and eternal hap 
piness, but the phrase " from the glory of his power" seems rather 
to favour the other acceptation, viz., that a-iro denotes the point of 
departure of the punishment. The mention of power does not ac 
cord well with the idea of separation, cutting oif from God. "We 
should be influenced by this latter important point to conceive the 
idea thus : " they will receive their punishment from the face of 
God as its source," so that the latter is imagined as menacing (the 
eyes like flames of fire, Kev. xix. 12), the rather that it is somewhat 
harsh to interpret OTTO alone of the separation, unless the comparison 
of Isaiah ii. 10, 19 made it more than probable that Paul had that 
passage, which accurately coincides with this of Thessalonians, be 
fore his eyes. But in the prophet d-no is sufficiently explained by 
KpvTTreadai preceding, and accordingly we have to acknowledge a 
pregnant construction here, in which Paul assumed the allusion to 
the passage of the Old Testament as well known. 

Ver. 10. The other phase of the advent, the rewarding of the 
faithful, is denoted only indirectly, viz., so that Christ himself is 
represented as glorified and as an object of admiration by the recog 
nition of them. It declares plainly the greatness of the recompense 
which is given to the faithful ; while yet the recognition of them 
is referred not to them but to Christ as the author of it. In Horn, 
ix. 23 Paul utters the same idea. In like manner it is also ex 
pressed in Psalm Ixxxix. 8. As everything serves the end of mani 
festing the glory of God, so do especially the great events of the 
ovvTK/(.eia -ov a/wvof, in which the justice and mercy of God will 
beam forth in the brightest splendour. As to the rest, the tv must 
be translated strictly "in," for Christ is represented as glorified 
in the faithful by his indwelling in them. (See details at ver. 
12.) Again, it certainly is not stated here expressly that Christ 
comes ivitli his saints, as it was said at ver. 7 that he comes with the 
angels, but, according to the doctrine of the tmowayuyrj of the 
faithful with Christ in heaven (1 Thess. iv. 17 ; 2 Thess. ii. 1), this 
must here too be necessarily assumed. (The compound Kvdogd&oOai 
is found in the New Testament only here and at ver. 12. In the 
Old Testament it occurs Ex. xix. 4 ; Ezek. xxviii. 22, for issn.) 
Lastly, as to the concluding words of ver. 10, the connexion : on 


O paprvpiov rj^v t v/idg tv rrf fyitpa Ziceivq is inadmissible, 
because the aorist cannot possibly have the meaning of the future. 
Besides, the acceptation of the words as, "my testimony as to you, 
i. e., the testimony which I bear to your faith (ver. 4) will be estab 
lished on that day," which the defenders of that connexion, Gro- 
tius, Bengel, Koppe, and Flatt, urge, is not without harshness. 
For, on the one hand, paprvptov generally refers to the testimony of 
Christ, the Krjpvyna r^ dkqddag ; on the other, KTriarevOrj, in accord 
ance with the marsvaaoi which precedes, is also to be taken in the 
meaning " to believe." Therefore on K7iia-Evd7) TO nap-vpiov i]^Q>v t-0 
vf-tZg, can only be taken as a parenthesis, in the sense, " ye have 
truly believed our testimony unto you, i. e., received the gospel 
preached unto you by us." The KV ~# ^pa Eiidvq, on the contrary, 
belongs to the former half of ver. 10, o-av t/lflg, K. r A. (niarevaaai 
is, on the authority of the MSS., to be preferred to Triorevovai, the 
reading of the text. rec. Their faith is represented as completed, as 
they on that day have passed into seeing (the face of God). 

Ver. 11. To this is then subjoined the remark that Paul re 
members his readers in praying for them that God may perfect them 
in their life of faith. (Et o is our " for this purpose, to the end," 
viz., " that Christ at his coming may be glorified through you," as 
ver. 12 shews. At-tovv T%- n^ot^ might in itself mean, " to favour 
with the call," i. e., " to hold worthy to be called." But, as the 
Thessalonians were already called, the context requires, " to make 
worthy of the call which has already t*ken place," viz., by fidelity 
and zeal in sanctification. These would, therefore, not be looked 
upon as a work of man, but as God s work in man s soul, which he 
may, however, hinder through unfaithfulness. The concluding words, 
KV dvvdf.iei. describe more in detail the process of the 
dyaOuavvqg might in itself, like the corresponding 
Hebrew, ns .ta-j an, be referred to God s goodness, which he manifests 
unto man according to his good pleasure, for dyaOuavvrj is only the 
abstract form of dyaOov, and receives its closer definiteness only 
from the context. But the tpyov -rucr-eo^, word of faith, which 
stands parallel with it, requires that evdoida dyaOuavvTjg also be re 
ferred to the condition of the Thessalonians, so that the sense is, 
V God fill you with all the good which is well-pleasing to him, i. e., 
may he fill you with all the good which is well-pleasing to him in 
you." The phrase tpyov nia-eug is not put merely for mong it 
self, nor does it mark here the independent activity of man in 
the fight of faith, as at 1 Thcss. i. 3, because the discourse is of 
God s work, and not of man s ; Zpyov 7-ia-eug rather denotes here 
faith as God s work in the souls of men, which is capable of a con 
tinued development in respect to its discernment and depth. ? Ev 
6wduei ) in power, refers to the whole clause " that he may fulfil, 
VOL. V. 20 


etc., and is to be taken adverbially, " in a powerful, efficacious 
manner." As to the rest, the construction of -n^povv with a 
double accusative is altogether unusual ; it is usually joined with 
the accusative. and the genitive or the dative, irhijpavv Tiveij nvog or 
rtvi. [Compare Acts ii. 28, xiii. 52 ; Eom. i. 29 ; 2 Cor. vii. 4.] If 
we do not choose to regard evSoidav and tpyov as accusatives abso 
lute, we might from what precedes refer merely Iva without vfidg to 
7r/t??pwc^7, and supply iv vfuv with the accusatives evdoniav and tfpyov. 
But this construction too is clearly so harsh that the former ac 
ceptation may yet be worthy of the preference. It is true at Eph. 
v. 18 Tr^rjpovo6ai is found joined with iv, but there it is put with the 
thing, not the person, which latter would hardly be found.) 

Ver. 12. In conclusion, Paul applies the idea pronounced in 
ver. 10 generally of all believers to the Thessalonians themselves. 
Instead of the Lord, his ovopa only is named here as the object of 
glorification, but ovopz stands, like BIB, for the very essence of his per 
son, as already remarked at Matth. xviii. 19, 20 ; John xiv. 11, seq. 
But then, with the essence the glory of Christ himself is at the 
same time necessarily contained in the expression ovo,ua, as Phil. ii. 
9, 10, on which see the Cornm., especially shews. Now the addition 
vfielg iv avr& clearly points to the inference, that the iv v/iiv, as has 
been already remarked on ver. 10, is not to be taken merely in an 
outward sense, but in an inward one, of the indwelling of Christ in 
the souls of the faithful. For this admits of being conceived con 
versely as a being of the faithful in Christ, and the vfielg iv avr& 
brings forward this other phase. As to the rest, this passage has in 
ideas and expression a tinge quite in the style of John. (See the 
Comm. on John xiii. 31, xvii. 1, 21, 26, also further Eev. iii. 20.) 
But all this is only the operation of the grace of God and of 
Christ, not of one s own strength and exertion. The juxtaposition 
of the Father and Son here again is to be explained by the remark 
on 1 Thess. iii. 11. 

(ii. 1-17.) 

After this introduction acknowledging his readers state of faith, 
Paul now comes directly to the chief point of his epistle, to the 
question with regard to Christ s coming again, as to which fresh 
errors had developed themselves in Thessalonica after the first epis 
tle was sent off. In a properly prophetic communication Paul de 
livers himself on the point of what must precede the coming of 
Christ, and imparts on this occasion extremely important informa- 


tion as to the nature of Antichrist, the mode of his operation, and 
what still hinders his being revealed. The first two points, the 
nature of Antichrist and the mode of his operation, are, it is true, 
circumstantially described in Kevelation also, so that we here learn 
nothing new from Paul ; however, this communication still serves 
very much for the confirmation and elucidation of the profusely 
figurative descriptions of the Apocalypse. But the third point, 
on the contrary, viz., what still withholds the revelation of Anti 
christ, is of that nature, that neither in the Apocalypse, nor else 
where in the Old or New Testament (slight, and by themselves 
unintelligible, intimations excepted), does anything similar occur ; 
so that by means of this communication an entirely new, and, as 
we shall see, deeply penetrating, point in the doctrine of the last 
things is thus unveiled to us. But, before we examine the particu 
lars of the important communication which follows, we have to 
answer the preliminary question, whether Paul declares in it only 
his private view, which he might have formed for himself in accord 
ance with the reigning Jewish notions, or propounds the doctrine of 
Antichrist and what is connected with it from a Divine revelation. 
Paul certainly does not observe here expressly, as at 1 Thess. iv. 15, 
" we saj this by the word of the Lord," but nevertheless we have 
to consider this communication of his also as objectively true Divine 
information, and that for the following reasons : First, we nowhere 
in the New Testament generally, and in Paul particularly, find that 
the distinction between purely subjective private views and objective 
Divine revelation has reference to doctrine. All that belongs to 
this (and beyond question this includes the following disclosures as 
to the end of all things), is everywhere and without distinction con 
sidered and treated as a communication by the Holy Ghost who leads 
into all truth, as the result of the anointing which teaches all things 
(1 John ii. 27). Subjective private views are acknowledged as admis 
sible in the department of discipline and indifferent things alone. 
(See at 1 Cor. vii. and Rom. xiv.) To this general consideration is 
added here the special one that Paul in what follows (2 Thess. ii. 
15) recommends with such emphasis his instructions to the atten 
tion of the Christians in Thessalonica, that it cannot possibly be 
misunderstood that he would have it regarded as a Divine revela 
tion, so that we have to supply here from the first epistle the ex 
press declaration about it. Further, the undoubting, confident 
manner, in which Paul propounds what follows testifies that he is 
conscious of declaring not subjective conjectures as to futurity, but 
objective certainty. It remains to be said that, beyond Matth. xxiv. 
and the parallel passages in Mark and Luke, this passage is the 
most copious in the New Testament in which the purely prophetic 
element, in the sense of seeing into futurity, exhibits itself; but it 


is only in the Apocalypse that all the individual features scattered 
in these and in other passages of the New Testament as to the last 
catastrophes of the history of humanity and of the earth, are united 
into one great picture and placed in living connexion with the inti 
mations of the Old Testament on the subject. 

Vers. 1, 2. Paul now connects his eschatologic communications 
with his previous disclosures in the first epistle. There he had (iv. 
15, seq.) spoken of the napovoia of Christ, and of the manner in 
which at Christ s coming the faithful (both those risen from the dead 
and those still living clothed-over) will gather themselves unto him, 
in that they will be caught up in clouds into the air to meet the 
Lord. This Paul here denotes with the phrase ^IMV Kmovvayuyrj tV 
avrov, our assembling unto him. The position of I UMV places it in. 
antithesis with the Trapovaia Xpiarov ; Christ s coming and our 
being gathered unto him, i. e., our coming to meet him, denote 
in this proceeding the Divine and the human act which meet one 
another. (The substantive K-mvwayuyri is found in the New Tes 
tament only once more, at Heb. x. 25, of meetings for Divine 
service. The verb, on the other hand, is often found (particularly 
at Matth. xxiv. 31 ; Mark xiii. 27), likewise of the elect being 
assembled before the advent. But in these passages the discourse 
is not of a being assembled in heaven, but on earth, which latter 
is to be conceived as preceding the former, as the lifting up into 
the air is not to be conceived as occurring with each individual 
by himself, separated from the others, but as a joint process in all, 
and proceeding from one place. This leads to the idea of a moun 
tainous place on which the faithful are assembled in order to go to 
the Lord from it. [Compare on this point the remarks on Matth. 
xxiv. 31.] ETU in KTT avrov is most simply explained by regarding 
the person of Christ, as it were, the centre of the assembly, to 
which centre the entire assembling movement tends. (See Winer s 
Gr. 49, I.) What is now propounded here in reference to the 
coming of Christ arid the assembling of the faithful unto him 
by Paul as an exhortation (tpwraw stands, as at 1 Thess. iv. 1, as 
a softening term for Trapa/i-a/tew), consists, according to ver. 2, in 
warning the readers not to imagine the day of the Lord as im 
mediately impending and allow themselves to be made uneasy 
by it. A person might consider the day of the Lord as imme 
diately impending without being made uneasy by it, viz., in that 
he looked forward to the coming of Christ in calm cheerful faith, 
nay (see at Luke xxi. 28), in blessed joy (though even in the faith 
ful and regenerate will be found fear of the day of the Lord along 
with the joy, inasmuch as even in them the old man still as 
serts his influence, for he knows he cannot stand before the Lord) ; 
in that case the confidence with which such a one fixed the time or 


the hour would alone he hlameahle. But among the Christians in 
Thessalonica complete disquiet, utter loss of their calm inward 
peace, took place, inasmuch as they were yet too unenlightened to 
be able in the power of faith to bear the notion of the nearness of 
such prodigious events. The moral harm of this disquietude is 
further spoken of in the third chapter. (SaAevw, a verb that often 
occurs in the New Testament, denotes, first of all, " to produce the 
wavy motion of the sea," hence oaheveaOai, " to be in fluctuating 
motion." Transferred to conditions of mind it denotes all violent 
passions of joy, grief, or fear. The latter relation predominates 
here, as the dposlaOai, which defines the term aakevdrjvai more closely, 
shews. QpoeloOai, from dpoog, " a noisy cry," is found elsewhere in 
the New Testament only at Matth. xxiv. 6 ; Mark xiii. 7.) But 
ra^ug is difficult ; it means not merely " swiftly, hastily," but also 
" soon," with reference to a previous point of time. The refer 
ence to a point of time seems here inadmissible, because it would 
seem that Paul s only meaning can be that the Thessalonians 
are not to be disquieted at all, not merely that they are not to 
be soon put in anxiety. But if we conceive, as the point of 
time to which Paul refers, his personal presence with them, or 
the receipt of his first epistle, their fault certainly shews itself 
greater in allowing themselves immediately to be led away from 
the right state of mind, than after the lapse of many years. The 
brief interval also supposes but a brief employment of assaults 
against their established state of faith, and that these neverthe 
less soon overthrew them supposes a weakness of faith in them 
which is meant to be reproved by the re^ewf. We must add 
that Paul, in the KQUTUHSV elg rb /j^, adopts, by way of spar 
ing them, the form of representation which assumes they had not 
yet allowed themselves to be altogether disquieted. He thereby 
not only prepossessed in his favour those among the Christians 
in Thessalonica who had in some measure remained firm, but also 
linked himself to the better element, in those already quite car 
ried away, in order to bring them ba,ck the easier. The tone of 
opinion from which they are not to let themselves be led away is 
denoted merely by vov$. One expects an epithet to it, as, e. g., that 
they are not to allow themselves to be led away " from the right, un 
wavering disposition," by anxious apprehensions. But Paul deems 
an epithet unnecessary, because to him the vovg is of itself the de 
signation of the higher powers of the soul in man which define self- 
consciousness. (See on Horn. vii. 23.) Where anxious fear becomes 
dominant the vov<; loses its power, the condition of drota com 
mences. (Instead of //?/re Opodadat the rules of language [see 
Winer s Gr., 55, 6], undoubtedly indicate jUT/dt , which Lachmann 
has even received into the text, although in opposition to hia 


critical principles, and Schott also approves. Not a single MS. or 
critical authority reads jtwjJe, and we must decidedly reprobate the 
altering of the text by conjecture. It is rather to be openly ac 
knowledged that Paul has not here observed the more accurate dis 
tinction between \ir\fe and JUT/TS.) 

But now what Paul further communicates in ver. 2 as to the 
causes which had brought about this disquietude of the Christians 
in Thessalonica is especially important for the understanding of 
the state of affairs in the church there. It might have been legi 
timately thought that the expectation of the immediate proximity 
of the day of the Lord and the disquietude of the Thessalonians pro 
duced by it had developed themselves without any especial cause. 
Paul had called on them in the first epistle (chap, v.) to be above all 
things watchful, not to think in themselves that they had still peace 
and safety. This might naturally lead them to such views as Paul 
is now combating, viz., the certainty of the speedy coming of the 
Lord. The description in the third chapter of the epistle limits 
this " speedy" to a few weeks, or at most a few months, which the 
Thessalonians thought they still had for a respite until the day of 
the Lord. For, if they had supposed even some years only until 
this catastrophe, the giving up their handicrafts would have been in 
sufficiently accounted for. But we perceive from Paul s more de 
tailed communications, which here follow, that, besides those general 
causes generating similar notions out of the folly of men at all times, 
there were in Thessalonica special causes also, which had there called 
forth the fanatical expectation of the proximity of Christ s coming. 
He names three such causes : {irjre 6td Trvevfia-og, p;re 6ta /Ldycw, p/re 
& t-7rfCFToA% &g dC r/jitwv. That Paul means to denote by these only 
possible sources of fanaticism, not such as had already become actu 
ally operative in his readers, is utterly improbable, especially as at 
iii. 17 precautions are taken against epistles fathered on him, a case 
which must, therefore, have already happened. Now, before we take 
the separate points more closely into consideration, we have to an 
swer the preliminary question as to whether the &g 6C fjntiv refers 
merely to the last member of the sentence, or to the last two, or 
even to all three. If the last were the case, the sense of the words 
would then be that the Christians in Thessalonica had been deceived, 
not merely by means of supposititious doctrines and epistles, but 
also by means of pretended prophecies of Paul s. Such an ac 
ceptation of the words is utterly impossible, though Reiche (in 
the essay above cited, p. 9), approves of it. To express this 
idea, Paul would undoubtedly have written not nvevfia, but ~po- 
<f)r]Teia ; for -vevpa as denoting an isolated prophecy is without any 
example. This construction too involves a tautology, as Adyof 
and K-ia-o/Ji can thus be only understood again of different forms 


of the communication of that prophecy which had heen granted 
to the apostle. If we, accordingly, must decline the connection 
of the wf & ?///-wv with all these substantives, the reference, on 
the other hand, of the words to the last two terms, not to ma- 
roki] only, is more than probable. For some doctrine propounded 
by a man unknown to. or without influence among, the Thessa- 
lonians, could not induce them to admit such opinions into their 
minds as Paul blames in them ; but this could well be, and was 
necessarily, the case, if they believed the doctrine came from 
their beloved apostle. If we, accordingly, do not refer the words 
did nvevfiarog to Paul, the question is how the words are to be 
taken. The referring them to prophecies of the Old Testament 
is plainly quite inadmissible, for nothing could be deduced from 
them as to the time of Christ s coming. True, it has been proposed 
to understand did Xojov of calculations (comp. Phil. iv. 15, 17) which 
were instituted in consequence of prophecies in the Old Testament ; 
but, first, we find no example of such calculations having been insti 
tuted in the time of the apostles, and secondly, the usual combina 
tion of Adyof and imaroXij for denoting oral and written instruction, 
which recurs directly at ver. 15, is decidedly against it. Accord 
ingly, 61$ Trvernarog can only be referred to the Charismatic gift 
of prophecy, the abstract being put for the concrete TrvevfiariKog. 
Of course, Paul cannot recognize this prophecy as a pure one ; 
but we need not still on that account refer it to false prophets, 
properly so called, who were urged on by the evil spirit ; these Paul 
would certainly have designated by stronger expressions. On the 
contrary, the true Charisma of prophecy, and especially that of 
speaking with tongues, in which the personal consciousness retired 
very much into the back-ground (see at 1 Cor. xiv. 1), might easily 
be defiled by admixtures from the sinful nature of him that exer 
cised the gift, whence indeed Paul ordained that the words of the 
prophets and of those speaking with tongues should ever be judged 
by such as were in possession of the gifts of the diditpioig -nvEvparc^v. 
(See at 1 Cor. xiv. 29.) This explanation solves the question from 
what men these prophecies may have proceeded. Emissaries who 
had penetrated from without into the church at Thessalonica arc 
not to be thought of ; even in what follows (chap, iii.), in spite of 
the strict measures which Paul recommends, not the slightest inti 
mation is found that intruders had caused these disturbances. The 
authors of these prophecies were, no doubt, members of the church, 
who had brought their Charismata into employment in fanatical 
guise, and thus by subjective immixtures dimmed the Holy Spirit 
in them. That in this conduct a conscious evil design was at work, 
is scarcely to be supposed ; this overclouding of the Spirit s gifts 
of grace was, doubtless, rather occasioned by a one-sided predomi- 


nance of feeling and imagination. But the case must have been 
otherwise with those who pretended oral or written declarations of 
the apostle ; for in the <!)$ 6t I mtiv scil. yeypa^ew^ is plainly ex 
pressed the intention of the deceivers that the non-apostolical epistle 
should be taken for apostolical. True, Jerome, Krause, Ndsselt, 
and others, have thought misapprehensions merely of Paul s doc 
trine and epistles may be spoken of ;* but iii. 17 is decidedly 
against this ; for Paul, to obviate such deceptions, there gives a 
fixed mark for his genuine epistles. But in what mind are we to 
imagine those persons to have been ? We scarce perceive at all 
what they could intend by such a deception. This considera 
tion prompted Hug (Introd. vol. ii., p. 344) to the conjecture that 
these persons might have had no evil design in their deception, but 
were induced to it solely by the wish to work a wholesome fear, 
and, by that means, amendment, in some thoughtless members of 
the church in Thessalonica by a representation of the proximity of 
the day of Christ. This assumption, however, of a pious fraud has 
clearly not sufficient foundation ; it is simpler to imagine that 
fanaticism, that fruitful source of deceit, suggested to certain per 
sons, by means of supposititious communications of Paul s, to give 
preponderance in Thessalonica to their notions of the immediate 
proximity of the advent. (In ver. 2 the we on = olov el or c5f dv : as 
Pelt has already justly remarked, in accordance with Alberti s observ. 
phil., p. 318. &(; represents the assertion on. iviorr]K,ev r\ r^pa rov 
Kvpiov as the notion intended to be propagated by m svfia, Adyof, and 
emo-ofa], On tvK!7T7]Kev see Bom. viii. 38 ; G-al. i. 4.) 

Vers. 3, 4. Against all these forms of deceit Paul warns his 
readers (p? nc, K. r. /L, scil. /SAt-Trere, 6pdre), and that too because the 
day of the Lord had necessary preliminaries which must be ful 
filled, before it could come. For it need not be mentioned that the 
Kav \LI \ before tvltfg must not be taken, with Storr and Flatt, certis- 
sime, but that the apodosis, as being understood of itself from ver. 
2, is to be supplied, in this way, iav p,r\ tvlflg i\ diroaraoia nptirov, OVK 
p%erai 1} ii^oa rov Kvpiov. The passages to which Storr and Flatt 
refer (Numb. xiv. 28 ; Ezek. .xvii. 19) cannot be compared with 
this, because s^ t.x is there a form of an oath. " But when," Paul 
means to say, " the apostacy shall have happened and Antichrist 
have been revealed, then too the day of the Lord will immediately 
come immediately follow Antichrist." Tlie coming in of the apos 
tacy, and the revealing of Antichrist, are therefore named here as 
preliminaries. While this latter is described circumstantially, and 
in exceedingly characteristic features, nothing further is said of the 

* Kern (Tubingen Journal for 1839, p. ii., p. 150) understood the expression of a 
false exposition of the first epistle ; but this is inadmissible, if but for the reason that 
then the article before kjnaro?^ could not be omitted. 


d-xoa-raoia, and it remains therefore uncertain what Paul would have 
understood by it. The article points to something known to the 
readers, and indeed Paul refers in ver. 5 to his oral instructions on 
the point. Since we do not know these, there remain to us only 
the general analogy and the whole body of doctrine in order to 
determine what Paul most intends by " the falling away." Many 
interpreters, as Le Clerc, Nosselt, Kosenm Ciller, and Usteri, re 
fer it to the revolt of the Jews against the Romans, before the 
destruction of Jerusalem. If the term occurred in the passage 
Matth. xxiv. this acceptation would be well-grounded, supposing, 
that is to say, that it, like the destruction of Jerusalem itself 
(see on Matth. xxiv. 1), is referred typically to a remoter event. 
But we can trace here absolutely no reference to any approach 
ing events ; we have therefore no occasion either to depart from 
the most general idea of the falling away from faith, from love, 
from hope, in short from everything divine and holy, as it is de 
scribed by the Lord himself in Matth. xxiv. 8, seq., and from which, 
according to Matth. xxiv. 24, the elect alone are preserved by 
God s grace. The article points to a known falling away ; Paul 
must have already given his readers information about it by word of 
mouth. But it is a striking feature in the case, that the coming of 
the apostacy is placed before the revealing of Antichrist, whereas the 
falling away would seem to arrive at fulfilment only by means of 
Auticiirist and his seductive arts, as Paul himself describes, ii. 9, in 
harmony with Rev. xiii. 14, sec[. It was, we may suppose, this ap 
parent impropriety which induced several of the Fathers to take the 
falling away for Antichrist himself, as him who wrought the falling 
away, as, particularly, Chrysostom and Theodoret among the Greeks, 
Augustine among the Latins. But nothing whatever countenances 
that. However, the difficulty involved in making the falling away 
to precede the revelation of Antichrist certainly requires a solution. 
The simplest interpretation, and the one most corresponding to the 
representations in Matth. xxiv. and the Revelation, seems to be this : 
In a certain aspect Antichrist and the revealing of him are them 
selves a result of the falling away, which will take place not among 
the Christians merely, but among all nations and in all religions and 
constitutions, a falling away from the fundamental pillars of all truth 
and universal righteousness will take place, as Paul describes it 1 
Tim. iv. 1, seq.; and Antichrist will, viewed from the one side, grow 
out of this as the fruit, viewed from the other side, however, con 
versely, himself accomplish in its totality this tendency to the apos 
tacy, and endeavour to bring to it even the truly faithful ; an 
attempt, which must, it is true, through God s grace, serve to the 

* Thus the Scholion in Matthsei explains quite correctly: uT 
ypicrov uA?.oTpiuai(; TUV dvOpuTruv dirb Qeov. 


perfecting of the saints and of the church in general. The further 
consideration of these events must be reserved for the explanation 
of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, in which the great falling 
away of mankind and the influence of Antichrist and of his prophet 
upon it are described more in detail. (The form aTroaraaia is of 
later origin. The earlier is a-noaraaic;. See Lobeck s Phrynichus, p. 
528. In the Greek translations we find dTroaraaia for V>?te and n-o 
2 Chron. xxix. 19 ; Jerern. xxix. 32.) As the second of the events 
without which the coming of Christ is not to be expected, is then 
named the revealing of Antichrist. The term d-onaXv^ is to be 
explained by the pervading parallel between Christ and Antichrist, 
as indeed in ver. 9 the latter s " coming" is also spoken of. But 
from this we are not to separate another idea, to which also the 
leads, viz., that, as Christ before his visible coming 
aloO^rij) was already present among men in his spiritual 
vorjr^j so too Antichrist veiled has been long at work 
already, as ver. 7 openly declares. But a time will come when he 
throws off every veil and makes himself known bodily (ffw^art/cwf), 
as an incarnation of Satan himself, in which sense Judas Iscariot 
was his prototype (whom the Lord himself [John vi. 70] calls the 
devil, i. e., him who was that among the disciples which the devil 
is among the children of God), and at John xvii. 12 is called 
the son of perdition (6 vlbg T%- aTrw/Um^), just as Antichrist is here. 
Now the names too which Paul gives him characterize Antichrist as 
such. The first two, " the man of sin, the son of perdition," might 
also denote every bad man quite fallen under the power of sin, such, 
e. </., as had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. But the 
article only admits of the reference to a definite, known individual, 
to whom sin and destruction belong in a special sense, viz., so that 
he not merely has sin and falls into destruction, but that sin and 
destruction proceed from him as their source, and that he drags 
every one else into sin and destruction after him. As such, he is 
afterwards, in ver. 7, also called 6 avo^oc^ laiuless, whose element is 
dvoiua, in that he acknowledges no law, no higher will, but, as self 
ishness personified, will have his own will recognized as the one only 
law. In like manner as Satan is often called 6 -novrjpog and (5 if>vu- 
rrjg (John viii. 44), Antichrist also is called 6 ifjevarrig, 1 John ii. 4, 
22, and o -Xavoc;, 2 John ver. 7. However, the name dv6pu-og char 
acterizes him at the same time as a real man, with body and soul, 
whom Satan, the principle of evil, thus makes his dwelling, as the Son 
of God united himself with the man Jesus. The revelation of Anti 
christ exhibits itself, therefore, as an aping of the appearing of Christ. 
What in the Redeemer was a profound substantial truth appears in 
Antichrist as a caricature counterfeit, as, generally, evil prolongs 
its existence only by aping the good. Thus the Fathers had already 


correctly interpreted, the leading passages from whom Pelt has col 
lected in his Commentary. (In both phrases it is to be presumed 
passages of the Old Testament were in Paul s mind. "Av6pu~og -^ 
g answers to the Hebrew -jj 8 * &**, Isaiah Iv. 7 ; Prov. vi. 12, 
TT/C d-rruXdag to the *fc?i i ^., Isaiah Ivii. 4, which the LXX. 
translate by TKKVOV dirukeiag. The reading of the Codex B. and 
some MSS. of less authority, dvoniag for dpapTiag is, we may sup 
pose, only come into the text here from ver. 7.) Proceeding in 
the delineation of Antichrist, Paul further names him 6 dv-iKei- 
fievoc, where the article is again to be remarked. Although the 
LXX., in Zechar. iii. 1, put dvTuceinevog for ifc s, yet Antichrist cannot 
here signify Satan directly, because in ver. 9 he is distinguished 
from him. But he has certainly the disposition and tendency of the 
devil, viz., resistance to God, and to all that is godlike in church 
and state. While he seeks to destroy what is God s, he aims at 
setting himself in his place, at making himself God, which is the 
highest pitch of wickedness, but at the same time the expression 
of the perfect folly and inward contradiction which are the attributes 
of evil. This highest manifestation of Antichrist Paul describes in 
the concluding words of ver. 4, 6 vcpaipopevog 1 trdvra AKyopevov 
Qeov, K. -. A. According to this, as Chrysostom has already correctly 
remarked on this passage, Antichrist will not promote idolatry, but 
seduce men from the true God, as also from all idols, and set himself 
up as the only object of adoration. This remarkable idea, that sin 
in Antichrist finally issues in a downright self-deification, discloses 
to us the inmost nature of evil, which consists in selfishness. In 
Antichrist all love, all capability of sacrifice and self-denial, shews 
itself entirely submerged in the making self all in all, which then 
also insists on being acknowledged by all men as the centre of all 
power, wisdom, and glory. Daniel (xi. 36, seq.) had already said in 
his description of Antichrist, whom he represents as a king, as a 
universal monarch, v^uOi jae-ai Kal peyaAw0^aer<u em -rrdvra Qeov } 
K. T. A., and in the 13th chapter of Kevelation, ver. 15, it is prophe 
sied how an image of Antichrist will be vivified by pretended mir 
acles, and the adoration of that image required of all on pain of 
death. ( YTrepaipeadat, has already occurred 2 Cor. xii. 7. The 
phrase TU -dvra Aeyojtievov Oeov reminds one of 1 Cor. viii. 5. We 
are not to understand merely the true God, but also all forms of re 
ligious life, even the lowest. These shew themselves by the side of 
the worship of Antichrist as still, relatively, worthy forms of God s 
worship, for the men who were worshipped as Gods or heroes were 
certainly mostly benefactors to humanity, in whom some rays of the 
better element gleamed; but in Antichrist the quintessence of all 
that is evil appears combined, and yet presents itself for adoration. 
Even the self- deification of the Koman emperors appears as modesty 


by the side of Antichrist, for the Caesars did not elevate themselves 
above the other gods, they only wanted to have a place beside them 
as representatives of the genius of the Eoman people. Antichrist, 
on the contrary, wants to be the only true God, who suffers none 
beside him ; what Christ demands for himself in truth, he in the 
excess of his presumption claims in falsehood. The supposition of 
Michaelis, Baumgarten, and others, that Qeog here, after the analogy 
of the Hebrew fc^s, denotes princes and authorities, is to be utterly 
rejected, as the mention of the va6$ } which follows, shews. Zefiaova, 
denotes everything holy as an object of worship, be it a person, an 
idol, or a place [Acts xvii. 23] ; but, as it does not by the repetition 
of the article appear as a fresh idea, the first reference to persons is 
preferable. Paul in using it had probably in mind the heroes 
and other subordinate personages of the heathen mythology.) Tho 
words ware avrov eig rbv vabv rov Qeov ita.0t.aai d~odeiKvvvra eavrbv 
on Karl Oed^, so that lie sits in the temple of God, shewing himself, 
etc., arc substantially an obvious and necessary result of what pre 
cedes. Whoever exalte t.h himself above all that is called God must 
necessarily consider and declare himself God. But more is couched 
in the ilirooeinvvvra than the mere assertion ; it implies, doubt 
less, as Schott has already correctly assumed, to the proving his 
pretended divinity by means of sham miracles (ver. 9), such as is 
described Rev. xiii. 15 also. The reading o>f Qeov before naOLaai, 
which Matthsei, Koppe, Knapp, and Schott, defend, would in itself, 
it is true, be not unsuitable, but the critical authorities so de 
cidedly favour the omission, that we with Griesbach and 
Lachmann, must strike it out. But the most difficult point is 
the KaOioai el$ rbv vabv rov Qeov, sit in the temple of God. If 
there stood merely d$ vaov, " into any temple," the phrase 
might seem employed only symbolically to denote the act of pre 
senting onc s-self for adoration ; viz., the sitting, after the analogy 
of the sitting of kings on the throne, denotes here his taking pos 
session of the Temple as his property, and his readiness to receive 
the homage of his subjects. But 6 vabg rov QEOV seems necessarily 
to refer to the Temple of the only true God in Jerusalem, which 
still stood at the time at which Paul wrote. If we glance first 
at the possible parallel passages, Matth. xxiv. 15, /3dtvlvy/ia r//$ 
epTyjuuaewf tarwf t v TO-GJ dy nj>, desolation of abomination standing, 
etc., presents itself. These relate, as is well-known, to Daniel 
ix. 26, 27, xi. 31, xii. 11, and allude (compare at Matth. xxiv. 15) 
not to Antiochiis Epiphanes, but to the destruction of Jeru 
salem and pollution of the Temple by the Romans. To give 
with certainty in a more definite way the fact indicated will be 
hardly possible. But, in any case, in all that occurred to pol 
lute the Temple at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 


but a faint type of the occurrences here prophesied by Paul is 
recognized. The Apocalypse contains nothing to explain this men 
tion of the Temple ; true, Ezek. xxviii. 2 bears a certain typical 
analogy, where the King of Tyre is represented as declaring him 
self God ; but neither there is the Temple spoken of. We are, 
therefore, absolutely tied down to this single passage. If, then, we 
reflect that in the Temple at Jerusalem there was, as is well known, 
apart from the ark of the covenant, no image or throne of Jehovah 
whatever ; that according to Matth. xxiv. 2 ; John iv. 21, the 
demolished Temple is not to be rebuilt ; it appears, as also the 
later interpreters assume, necessary to understand the Temple of 
God here in a symbolical sense of the Christian Church, which is 
elsewhere too called (2 Cor. vi. 16 ; Eph. ii. 21) vaog in the New 
Testament as Christ s abode through his Spirit. The sense of 
the words is then this : Antichrist will seek to thrust Christ, the 
real object of adoration, out of the church, and to put himself in 
his place. ^A~odeiKvvvTa iavrbv ort is a sort of attraction for 
aTTodain vvra un avrog zariv Oe<%.) After this contemplation of 
the single features of the picture that Paul sketches of Antichrist, 
we have still to inquire how he may have conceived the realization 
of the same, whether in one individual or in several, and all con 
nected with this : further, to what historical facts the prophecy 
has reference according to the various views of the interpreters. But 
these questions are so intimately connected with the interpretation 
of the Kart ^wv, of which Paul immediately speaks, that we can in 
vestigate them only after explaining the next three verses. 

Vers. 5, 6. Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica nothing 
new in these communications ; he only reminds them of the fact 
that he had already declared the same thing to them during his 
personal presence. That these subjects had already come under dis 
cussion in the few weeks of his stay there (see the Introd. to these 
two epistles, 1) cannot surprise us if we reflect what importance 
the doctrines of the kingdom of God and the advent of Christ had 
in the* apostles time ; an importance which they will receive again 
only at the end of the world. It might rather surprise us that so 
little on the subject is found in Paul s other epistles. To me it is 
probable, as I have already remarked above, that Paul was induced 
by his experiences in Thessalonica to leave, among the Gentiles, his 
eschatologic views more in the background. They were too new 
to the Gentiles, and excited their fancy in a way which almost in 
evitably generated fanatical errors. But now the question, ov 
uvr]fj,oveve-e } has here the meaning, " Have ye quite forgotten that 
I propounded this to you, that ye have been able to give ear to such 
deceitful discourses ?" (ver. 2). Even the next communication as to 
the KO.-KXOV .Paul supposes to be known to his readers in the words, 


real vvv rb nar^ov oldare, and now ye know ivliat withholdeth. Still 
deferring the investigation as to the difficult and extremely obscure 
Kare^ov : we first investigate how the vvv is here to be taken. 
Storr, Schott, and Flatt, take it as an antithesis to K-L in ver. 5. 
But in that case we should expect the collocation vvv nai. Be 
sides, we do not see how the Thessalonians could now have known 
anything of the /cart^ov, unless Paul had already in person made 
communications to them about it, for neither epistle contains 
the slightest reference to the subject. For the same reason we 
cannot either take, with Pelt and others, vvv as a mere transition- 
particle, for even so it points to something following as a con 
sequence ; igitur or mine igitur requires something in what 
precedes which might serve for the knowledge of the K<ITE%OV. If 
we compare the phrase 6 ica-e^uv dpri, ver. 7, it seems most suit 
able here too to connect vvv with Ka-ixpv. True, we should ex 
pect in this connexion the collocation rb vvv KO,TE%OV or TO KUTK^OV 
vvv } but at all events the assumption of an inexact collocation of 
words is an unessential difficulty in comparison with the relief 
furnished by this construction to the obscure passage. For, as 
we shall see later, it is precisely the idea, " what now with 
holds, hinders, the revealing of Antichrist," that promotes the ex 
planation. If, however, the hypothesis of an inversion be rejected, 
and one of the two other above-mentioned ways of taking the vvv 
be preferred, still the dpn must, at all events, be supplied here too 
from ver. 7.* A definite time is ascribed to the dnoKd^v-ipig (ver. 3) 
of Antichrist by the apostle, as it must needs happen according to 
God s dispensation (KV T& iavrov tcaipti. Cf. John vii. 6, 30). In this, 
too, the analogy with the advent of Christ declares itself. When 
the time was fulfilled God sent his Son (Gal. iv. 4). What with 
holdeth is, accordingly, operative not against God s will, but in con 
formity with it. It is the medium in God s hand for keeping back 
the appearance of Antichrist till the time appointed him. The Di 
vine intention with the Kare^ov is precisely intimated in the etf TO, 
"which is meant to serve the end that Antichrist may be able to re 
veal himself only in his time (not earlier)." According to this, the 
ica~E^eiv is plainly strictly defined, viz., as the hindering agency by 
which the evil power urging Antichrist to appearance is paralyzed 
in its operation. 

* Kern (ubi supra, p. 161) also lays a stress on the vvv as a definition of time, and 
with justice. With regard to the connexion with vvv he considers, as to sense, the con 
nexion with Karixov and that with oldare on a par, grammatically that with otdare 
seems to him to be preferred. But the u/m (ver. 1) favors, in my opinion, the connex 
ion with Kn.Tixv. The question is not of the fact that they (the readers) now know 
something which they did not know before, but that they know what now hinders the 


Ver. 7.- This position of the K.a-t xpv (for which 6 Kare%uv here 
comes in, of which change of gender we shall speak later), to the 
Satanic power which urges forward Antichrist as its fruit, ver. 7 de- 
scrihes more closely. The power that produces him is already con 
tinually active ("i<5r] tvepyemw), but the Kar^uv does not allow him 
to appear ; as soon as it shall be removed Antichrist will reveal him 
self. But the phrase jj,vaTijpiov rfc avo\iia<;^ mystery of iniquity, 
here is peculiar. The reference of it to the d-ooraoia (ver. 3), or to 
the heretics who shall desolate the church, is inadmissible, because 
these phenomena can only be considered as subsequent, or at most 
preparative, workings of Antichrist. From the relation of the open 
ing words of ver. 7 to the opening ones of ver. 8, KCU rore d-oitahvQ- 
Gi /oTai 6 avojuofj the phrase \LVG~I\QIQV rijg dvof-iiag can also dcnots 
only Antichrist himself. But, it is asked, on what ground does 
Paul use this phrase in order to characterize him ? In the Apo 
calypse too the Babylonian whore, ?/ pjr^p -tiv -nopvtiv not -<Zv 
86e/{,vy[m~uv TTJ^ yijs (Rev. xvii. 5), in whom the formation of the 
universal antichristian spirit in the city of Rome is alone to be re 
cognized (ib. ver. 18), bears on her forehead the name pvffrijpiQV (ib. 
ver. 5, seq.), it is true not primarily in reference to the, but 
to the peculiar mysterious formation of antichristianity in the rulers 
of the kingdom which the whore of Babylon represents. But if we 
compare 1 Tim. iii. 16, Christ is there called TO T/^ evae[3eia [ivo-r\- 
pioVj and that too because in him God himself appeared in the flesh, 
Qebg tyavepudt] KV aaQKi. In accordance with the pervading analogy 
between Christ and Antichrist we shall, therefore, not be in error if 
we say Paul here calls Antichrist nvarTJpiov ri]q dvofuag because 6 
didfiokog tyavep&Or] KV aapni, the devil was manifested in the flesh. 
As the holy Scriptures speak of deep things of the Deity (1 Cor. 
ii. 10), so too they know ftddrj rov oarava, depths of Satan (Rev. ii. 
24); these are, fortunately, veiled even from sinful man, but at the 
appearing of Antichrist these depths of Satan will reveal them 
selves, just as in Christ and his appearing the depths of God have 
revealed themselves. Through the entire history of the world the 
activity of the powers of darkness, an element which excites our 
horror and dread, manifests itself to the deeply penetrating in 
quirer ; the wickedness of Satan exhibits itself now in this form, 
now in that; but the time will come when these scattered appear 
ances will present themselves all together in their highest power, and 
in complete fusion in Antichrist as a real embodiment of Satan. It 
follows from this that what now still keeps back the revealing of him 
(TO Kare%ov or 6 Kare^wv) must be a beneficent power, which is only 
overpowered in the end by the power of evil, under God s permis 
sion, becoming predominant. This view explains also the choice 
of the phrase t fieaov yiveoOai, in which the intimation of a 


hostile power which removes an object by force is always couched 
It has reference to the growing Antichrist, who exerts himself 
to put aside that which hinders his full development. (Com 
pare 1 Cor. v. 2 ; Col. ii. 14 ; Isa. Ivii. 2.) But the construction 
in vcr. 7 offers difficulties, which have been resolved in various 
ways. Storr and Flatt, whom Pelt joins, supply the verb Ka-fym 
av-6 from the participle Kar&x^v. But this yields no aid, for thus 
twf with the KCU rore following, makes no fitting connexion. 
Others, as Baumgarten, supply merely ia-i after fiovov, but then 
the troublesome u? with nal -ore following is equally unexplained. 
Rosenmuller, Nosselt, Heidenreich, and Schott, suppose a trans 
position of the tcd^, and translate as if it stood before 6 itarK^v 
dp-t } in this way : " till only he who still withholds it shall have 
been taken away/ But this is very harsh, as it perverts the 
natural force of the ivepyelrai, rb fivarripiov. The words must 
then be taken thus : " iniquity works in secret only so long, 
until," etc., a meaning to which jjdij is decidedly opposed. It re 
mains only to acknowledge in this passage a fusion of several prop 
ositions into one; Paul means to say, " the mystery of iniquity 
is already at work, it is already in motion ; nothing hinders its 
revelation but he only that now keeps it back; until he shall 
have been removed it cannot come forth ; but when he has been 
removed, then the lawless one will reveal himself without delay." 
But this series of ideas fuses itself in Paul s vivacious style into 
the single irregular sentence, which does not admit of being fairly 

Here closes the description of Antichrist, and of that which de 
lays his manifestation. In what follows, Christ s conflict with him 
at his coming, and the efficiency of Antichrist for the seduction of 
men by lying wonders, are alone described, which things have 
no influence on the main ideas. We, therefore, in conclusion, 
here review the whole remarkable representation in its entirety. 
The idea that the principle of good does not gradually extend itself 
victoriously in the development of the history of the world, but that 
beside that principle evil also heightens itself within itself, and by 
no means gradually disappears, but is first entirely overcome in a 
last great fight in which it apparently conquers, is not peculiar to 
this passage, but pervades the whole of Holy Writ, and has already 
met with examination in the Comm. on the parable of the wheat and 
the tares. (See on Matth. xiii. 29, 30.) But there is room for un 
certainty whether the representation here given of Antichrist, which 
plainly describes him as a person, as an individual, is the general form 
of representation in Scripture. The individuality of Antichrist can 
manifestly be excluded from this passage only by forcing its mean 
ing. He is not merely called expressly 6 dvOpu-xog 7% dfiapriag, K. r. A., 


6 dvTiitdpevos (ver. 4), but a coming is also ascribed to him, as to 
Christ, and an action (itaOiaat el$ va6v) } such as is imaginable in a 
person only (vers. 4, 9). But the description of the Apocalypse, to 
go no further, seems less favourable to that assumption ; the repre 
sentation of Antichrist as a beast with seven heads (Rev. xiii. 1) 
rather seems to lead to a multiplicity of Antichrists, which is at 
length expressly declared by John in his epistles (1 John ii. 18, 19, 
22, iv. 3 ; 2 John ver. 7), where the name avrixpia-os alone occurs. 
Elsewhere, too, as e. g., Acts xx. 29, 30 ; 2 Pet. ii. 1, seq., iii. 3, seq.; 
Jude ver. 18, seq., where the hostile powers and seducers in the 
latter days are described, several, not one, are always spoken of. In 
Daniel alone, chap, xi., the individuality in the picture of Antichrist 
again predominates in a typical form. Now how are we to explain 
to ourselves this apparently contradictory form of doctrine ? Is 
Antichrist to be considered as only a moral tendency diffused in 
many individuals ? or merely as a single individual, who communi 
cates his tendency to others ? Neither of the two can be the 
correct solution ; rather the conjunction of both points, the indi 
viduality and the spiritual tendency in masses of individuals. As 
has been already remarked above (ver. 3), Antichrist does not step 
on the scene suddenly without preparation ; on the contrary, a 
stream of Antichristian sentiment and conduct pervade the whole 
history of the world. From this stream in the last days proceeds 
Antichrist as the completed evil fruit ; it will express itself in 
many individuals, but by all these one personality will be considered 
as the centre of all their striving, and acknowledged as the master 
by whom they let themselves be guided.f A struggle to mould all 
the depths of good and evil into concrete appearances manifests itself 
in history. In the case of Christ s advent this struggle has arrived at 
the highest forms, and those too, in accordance with the tendency 
of histor} r to form persons, living personalities, in whom all the 
ideas of good and evil present themselves embodied. We can 
not, accordingly, assent to the view that Calixtus had already ex 
pressed, and which Pelt (pp. 167, 204, seq.) also makes his own, 
viz., that the mystery of iniquity here described by Paul will be 
nothing outward, that strikes the eye, but merely an spiritual event, 

* See particulars as to the etymology of the word at 1 John ii. 18. The uvri de 
notes not substitution, " one who appears instead of Christ, arrogates to himself 
his position" (that is rather couched in the word tyevSuxpiaros [see on Matth. xxiv. 4, 
24]), but hostile opposition, " him who is full of enmity against Christ." (See Liicke 
nd h. 1.) 

f This relation of the individuality to the tendency in the masses is expressed ex 
tremely significantly in Revelation by the beast and its heads. The heads are a result 
of life in the beast, and yet, vice versd, alone lead him. The different heads, however, 
are to be conceived, according to the meaning of Eevelation, not along with, but after, 
one another on the beast ; the unity of the personality of Antichrist is therefore not pre- 
indiced by them. / 

VOL. V. 2 1 


viz,, the inward dominion of the principle of evil).* The commu 
nications of Paul (ver. 5) as well as, particularly, those of the 
Apocalypse (ch. xiii.), are of that nature that they necessarily sup 
pose outward facts, as indeed the internal dominion of evil must 
manifest itself outwardly, and the French revolution, with the 
abolition of Christianity, and the setting np prostitutes on the 
altars for adoration, gives us outwardly , as the daily wider spread 
ing denial of the fundamentals of all religious truth and mor 
ality, of the doctrines of God, freedom, and immortality, as also 
deification, as a consequence of erroneous speculation, give us in- 
ivardly, a strong foretaste of what might at some future time be 
hut too really executed in the universal monarchy of Antichrist 
under his iron sceptre. But should i t t be alleged that while the as 
sumption is indeed unobjectionable, that the evil principle, which 
arrives at dominion in manj , will bring forth real evil fruits out 
wardly too, in increased proportion, as happened in the French 
revolution ; we are still not to imagine that such occurrences should 
be set in motion and conducted by one personality, which is as it were 
Satan himself incarnate ; that Antichrist is, like the devil, a mere 
abstraction, only there are many Antichrists, i. e., men, in whom the 
evil principle operates, no doubt veiy powerfully, but who yet al 
ways bear in them still something better along with the evil ; we reply 
that the doctrine is in utter opposition to historical analogy. All 
great movements in the history of the world have definite personages 
for pillars, who are, as it were, the centres from which they are car 
ried on. No doubt the spirit that animates them is also diffused in 
many others, but rather in a derived than an -original way. In ac 
cordance with this, the assumption that the last and utmost devel 
opment of evil will also attain to its centre in a personality, that all 
the labour of the evil powers strives, as it were, after the production 
of this individual, has the analogy of history entirely in its favour. 
But the opinion that alike in Antichrist, and in the devil, evil is only 
to be conceived as abstract, contradicts the doctrine of Scripture quite 
clearly ; it may be said, on the contrary, evil is never abstract, but 
ever appears in concrete personages. This view of the devil and 
Antichrist as real personages is far removed from Manicheism by 
the circumstance that their powers must still be acknowledged as 
good in substance, as they are God s powers ; but the misapplication 

* Liicke too (on 1 John ii. 18), seems to leave the personality of Antichrist at the 
least very doubtful, when he writes: "John s conception of of that nature, 
that it is easier in it than in Paul s to carry back the idea to its true universal import, 
by a severance of the form of a definite outward historical personality, in which form 
it had been first of all conceived and to make it thus more easy to be realized." That 
John does not, either, deny the definite personality of Antichrist, we shall see in the in 
terpretation of his epistles. 



of them against God s will to objects of selfishness constitutes the 
essence of evil. 

If we, after this, turn to the contemplation of the various inter 
pretations which have been made of this passage,* it is, first of all, 
clear that all those who believe that the prophecy is already ex 
hausted in one fact of the past are decidedly in error. As Christ s 
coming and the kingdom of God are still impending in the future, 
so too are the occurrences which immediately precede these, viz., the 
universal falling away, the appearance of Antichrist, and his de 
structive agency. Among the interpretations which find the fulfil 
ment of this passage in the past, we must name first the class 
that suppose in it the immediate time of the apostle. As in 
Matth. xxiv. Christ himself connects his coming with the insurrec 
tion of the Jews against the Romans,* and with the destruction of 
Jerusalem by the Romans which followed it, so too they refer Paul s 
representation here to those events. Accordingly, the aTroaraaia is 
said to denote the insurrection of the Jews, or, according to Ham 
mond, the falling away of the Gnostics. The man of sin is said to 
be Simon Magus, as the father of heresy, or, according to Wetstein, 
the Emperor Titus and the gens Flavia along with him, because 
Titus, at the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Josephus 
(B. J. YI. 2), sacrificed in the Temple. Grotius, on the other 
hand, declared the Emperor Caligula the man of sin ; others Nero, 
because he first persecuted the Christians. Kern too belongs to the 
interpreters who refer this passage to past events, and therefore at 
tribute to it no further prophetic meaning. This divine thinks it 
necessary to transfer the description of the anticipated Antichrist 
to the time after Nero s death, when the report was spread that that 
Emperor was not dead, and would come again (Tac. Hist. ii. 8, Suet. 
Nero c. 57), out of which the notion was developed among the 
Christians that Nero would return as Antichrist. (Lactantius de 
mort. persec. c. 2, August, de civ. Dei xx. 19.) On account of this 
circumstance, then, Kern also transfers, as already remarked in the 
Introduction to these epistles, the composition of the second Epistle 
to the Thessalonians to a period after Nero, and therefore declares 
it spurious. But we find nothing in the description of Antichrist, 
as given here by Paul, which would lead to the inference that 
he intends by it precisely Nero, and that the notion of Nero s re 
turn after death is supposed. This description contains such 
traits alone as could be cited even before Nero s time, from the 
picture of Antichrist already sketched by Daniel : viz., insolent 
transgression of the law, and scornful presumption towards the 
gods, to, or even above whose level he exalts himself. No doubt 

. * See the special excursus on this passage in tho latest Commentaries, particularly in 
Koppe, Pelt, and Schott. 


these traits are in part found in Nero, and that madman is also, 
doubtless, to he considered as a type of Antichrist, as well as An- 
tiochus Epiphanes ; hut this holds good of many others also. The 
prophecy cannot he looked on as fulfilled in him in its "fulness, he- 
cause the facts foretold by Paul have not met with their accom 
plishment in his person. 

Equally discrepant are the views as to the /car^wv. Either 
Christ himself, or the Divine will, or the Apostle Paul and his 
supplication, or the Christians and the supplicating Christian 
church in general, have been interpreted as the beneficent power 
which keeps off the coming of Antichrist. But the most usual 
view as to the /car^wv, which the Fathers especially defend, was 
that it denoted the Roman Empire (TO /care^ov) and the Emperor 
as its representative (6 narty^v). This supposition extended itself 
even through the middle ages and modern times ; for Charlemagne 
was considered as the restorer of the Roman Empire, and, in con 
formity with the prophecy of Daniel (Dan. ii. 40, seq.) of the 
four universal monarchies, the Roman Empire was considered as 
the fourth monarchy, therefore as the hip, legs, and feet, of the 
image that is described in the passage cited. The legs were referred 
to the division into the eastern and western Roman Empires, the 
toes to the later kingdoms of Christian-German Europe. So inter 
preted the later interpreters of Revelation, Newton, Bengel, and 
Stilling. As these recognized at the same time in Popery the Anti- 
christian power, they might think they had the two chief powers 
continually before them ; in the Pope and the Emperor, Antichrist 
and he that kept him off were plainly symbolized to them. By 
another turn of this view one might think himself justified, on 
Napoleon s appearing, in considering him as Antichrist, in that he 
laid a plan for a universal monarchy. It is true, Napoleon entered 
into a directly hostile opposition to Popery and the hierarchy, but 
through his dissolving the German empire in 1806 as the fourth 
universal monarchy of Daniel, he was looked on by many as he 
who removed the nari^v. But, as even after the dissolution of 
the German Empire Christ s advent has not happened, the whole 
view of the Roman Empire as the fourth monarchy is plainly 
endangered. The assumption of the continuance of the fourth 
universal monarchy, after the dissolution of the German Empire 
in 1806, in the states of the Rhenish Confederation, or of the 
German Confederation subsisting since 1815, is too doubtful to 
claim immediate adhesion. In order to make it good, it becomes 
necessary to assert that the German, i. e. } Roman, Empire would 
be restored again at some time, precisely as it was restored again 
by Charlemagne in 800, after the destruction of the western 
Roman Empire in 476, a view to which we shall subsequently re- 


turn. The referring Antichrist to the Pope, or rather to Popery is 
found as early as the middle ages among those individuals and par 
ties who came out in opposition to the hierarchy ; but it is espe 
cially since the Reformation that this view has been the prevailing 
one among the Protestants, whereas the Catholics designated Mo 
hammed as Antichrist in earlier times, but afterwards Luther 
and his labours by way of retaliation. The interpretation of Anti 
christ of the Papacy has even passed into the confession of faith 
of our church. (See the articles of Smalcalde, art. vi. ; p. 314, edit. 

If we, after this, turn to the critical examination of these various 
opinions upon Antichrist and upon that which holds him in check, 
we must by all means lay it down as an axiom that every interpre 
tation is false which admits the apostle s representation to be ex 
hausted in any phenomenon of the past. For, according to his 
express declaration, Christ s coming, and with it the resurrection of 
the faithful and the kingdom of God, are immediately to follow on 
the coming of the falling away and of Antichrist. As hitherto 
none of these has happened, the coming of Antichrist also can only 
be considered as future. But it by no means follows from this that 
the above-cited references to past historical points are strictly false ; 
they must merely not be conceived as exhausting the prophecy of 
Paul, but as real types of the last great catastrophe. Thus it is, in 
particular, to be decidedly acknowledged that the revolt of the Jews 
from the Romans, and the fearful judgment of God, the destruction 
of Jerusalem, with which the abolition of the independence of the 
people of God and of the Old Testament dispensation were united, 
are to be conceived in this passage as a type of the Antichristian 
events, just as in Matth. xxiv. In Paul s spiritual horizon the spe 
cial relations of the remote future could not occur ; he expected, as 
we saw at 1 Thess. iv. 15, seq., the advent during his life. It is, 
therefore, more than probable that he too, in conformity with the 
guidance of the prophecies of Christ himself (Matth. xxiv.), which 
were, no doubt, known to him, in uttering this prophecy had partic 
ularly the impending catastrophe of the destruction of Jerusalem 
in his thoughts. This is vouched for not so much by the mention 
of the temple of God (for it is extremely improbable that Paul 
imagined Antichrist would place himself in the stone Temple upon 
Zion, as there was no throne in it, as, besides, no Jew entered it ; 
further, this Temple was precisely the one to be destroyed ac 
cording to Christ s prophecy), as by the phrases TO vvv KUTK^OV, 6 
dpn KaTKxuv } for it cannot well be doubted that nothing but the 
Roman Empire, or in the masculine form the Emperor, as represent 
ative of it, is primarily denoted by them. By the additions vvv } 
dpn } Paul intimates the fact that the overthrow of this iron king- 


dom (see Dan. ii. 40, seq.) is imminent, and with this the overthrow 
of all order and legality, which through its influence spread them 
selves among the nations. According to this, we must in the in 
terpretation of this passage decidedly disapprove of regarding, 
even in a typical sense, one of the Roman Emperors as Antichrist ; 
he is rather, not as an individual, in which relation he may have 
much that is Antichristian in him, but in his official position, the 
Kare^wi here. Paul, doubtless, imagined Antichrist as proceed 
ing from the revolted Jews, or rather from apostate Christians (as 
it is said also at 1 John ii. 19, t- t l^v t f//l0ov, d/U, OVK jjoav < 
?}//wv), but in no case as a Gentile. Since he represents the ut 
most height of sinful development, there must necessarily be also 
supposed in him the utmost height of consciousness, which can 
be attained only under the influence of Christianity. We do not 
in this, then, deny that, e. g., the Emperor Nero, apart from his 
official position, conceived purely as a person, might be a type of 
Antichrist. This is rather undoubtedly to be assumed, as indeed 
Christian antiquity confessedly so considered him, and therefore did 
not believe in his death, but expected his coming again (see the in 
terpreters on Eev. xvii. 8, and the passages in Kern, loc. cit., p. 200, 
seq.) But this passage presents the Eoman Empire and the Em 
perors in another relation, viz., its beneficent aspect, the strict 
legality, opposing all revolution and dvofj,ia } of the principle of the 

Descending further in the history of the world, in like manner it 
is decidedly to be acknowledged that in Mohammed and his work of 
spiritual devastation in the development of Popery during the mid 
dle ages,* and finally in Napoleon in the present age, single traits of 
the Antichristian spirit shew themselves ; but no one can seriously 
maintain that Mohammed or Napoleon was Antichrist, not merely 
because upon their appearing that did not follow which Scripture 
represents as following upon the revealing of Antichrist, viz., the 
universal falling away and the setting up of the kingdom of God, but 
also for the reason that they possess, it is true, some but not all, of 
the traits of Antichrist. But only the combination of the collective 
features consummates Antichrist in the same way as the combina 
tion of the collective features of the image of Christ, as the pro 
phets had painted it, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, makes 
him Christ. Again, to establish the view that Popery is Antichrist, 
would oblige us previously to give up the doctrine, expressly de 
monstrated as scriptural, of the personality of Antichrist ; he could 
in that case be conceived as a spiritual principle only. As, however, 
the principle of Popery has prevailed during a whole series of cen- 

* See especially the passages collected by Pelt, Comm. in Epist ad Thess., p. 201, 


tunes, it is not to be perceived how its appearing can constitute a 
fixed time for the beginning of the kingdom of God, in which sense 
Paul here (ver. 3) treats of the revealing of Antichrist. Some 
indeed might apprehend the reference to Popery as the principle 
out of which the personality of Antichrist was yet to shape it 
self, so that some Pope or other would in the end present, himself 
as the bodily Antichrist ; yet w*e are to reflect that this is conceiv 
able only after a preliminary annihilation of the Roman Catholic 
church and, with it, of the Papacy too. For, as both are grounded 
on the confession of Christ as the Son of God, Antichrist can ap 
pear in a Pope in no other way than by the removal of this founda 
tion, because from thj description in the first Epistle of John the 
denial of Christ is an essential feature in his portrait. 

We may, accordingly, pronounce as the result of this examina 
tion, that the history of the world certainly presents to us personages 
and tendencies, in which significant traits of the picture of Antichrist 
are predominant, also groups of events, in which the analogy with 
the last catastrophes before the setting up of the kingdom of God 
is quite unmistakeable, which holds particularly of the insurrection 
of the Jews against the Romans, as of the destruction of Jerusalem 
which directly followed it, and of the French Revolution of 1789 ; 
but that neither in these separate occurrences, nor in all taken to 
gether, can the deep meaning of the prophecy in this passage be 
looked on as exhausted. The saying (2 Thess. ii. 7) TO {ivoTTJpiov ijdi] 
h spyelrai r/yc dvoj.iiag still holds good yet. The demoniac powers, 
which we see at work in the history of the world, call forth Anti- 
christian formations now in this shape, now in that, and that too in 
such a way that an augmentation of evil is visibly to be observed. 
This manifests itself especially in the progress of the French Revo 
lution a series of events without example or parallel in the history 
of the world which, in fact, presents, on a narrower scale, an accu 
rately corresponding type, especially in its Antichristian spirit, of 
the events of the awre^eia rov altivoc. But even after this, the pro 
phecy, as such, still abides. Now it may present no especial diffi 
culty to conceive to ourselves as possible an universal d-noaraoia from 
all the fundamentals of religion and morality, as we see before our 
eyes how active and manifold are the labours* for undermining them, 
and how infidelity and superstition strive for dominion over man 
kind. And with just as little difficulty may we conceive that from 
the universally disseminated elements of unbelief and wickedness, 
which are daily increasing, an individual is being produced, who, as 
the centre of all these Satanic tendencies, combines them in himself 
in the utmost height and strength, and so, as the fruit of the whole 
sinful development in human nature, as the corporeal Antichrist, as 
the incarnate son of Satan, steps upon the scene and seeks to hurl 


the Son of God on high from his throne. But this interpretation 
still leaves the Kare^uv obscure. True, this one feature in the pro 
phecy might be deemed to have no meaning for the future ; that the 
added vvv and apn restrict its reference to the times of the apostles. 
To this view, however, I cannot subscribe, partly because it seems 
unsuitable to declare so important a feature of the picture fulfilled, 
and the others not ; partly because precisely the deferral for cen 
turies of the advent of Antichrist proves the enduring energy of the 
element that keeps it off. To refer here to the Eoman Empire, 
as the fourth universal monarchy of Daniel, in its German-Christian 
form, we are forbidden by its subsequent dissolution in 1806. And 
the notion of a future restoration of it, such as Max von Schenken- 
dorf dreamed of, is questionable, on the ground, that the matter 
treated of is not the mere restoration of the name, " Koman Empire, 
Roman Emperor," but of the thing itself. The Emperor of the mid 
dle ages was the representative of all worldly power generally, the 
first prince of Christendom. But this relation had already, long be 
fore 1806, entirely changed, and therefore the outward dissolution 
of the empire is less important, because it had long since changed 
its internal character. And now it is by no means to be perceived 
how, under the present state of political relations, the position of the 
Emperor in the middle ages can ever be restored. Daniel s fourth 
universal monarchy must therefore be understood only of the pre 
ponderance of the Christian world in its Germanico-Roman elements 
over the terrestrial sphere, and not of the concentration of this do 
minion in one individual. We might, therefore, refer to the church. 
But the KCITKXOV can be scarcely referred to the church and her earthly 
or heavenly representatives, because it is matter of course that what 
Antichrist wishes to annihilate*opposes him, and thereby keeps him 
off ; the Kare^ov must be something equally distinct from the church 
and Antichrist. Besides, the change of the gender is thus inex 
plicable ; for Paul cannot have set himself up as the representative 
of the whole church, and if he meant Christ, we do not see why he 
should not openly name him. There remains then only the single 
explanation of /cart^ov, which understands by it the whole rightly- 
ordered political system, in which is involved on the one side the 
continual repression oT all dr:oa~aaia and dvoft,ia } and on the other 
the progressive tranquil development of Christianity. Of this sys 
tem the Roman Empire, as the firmest and most regularly-organ 
ized state that history is acquainted with, is the natural type. 
This leads us to the conclusion that insurrection against the sub 
sisting (see on Rom. xiii. 1) political arrangement is a principal 
lever of the Antichristian power, in order to bring the man of 
sin into existence, and indeed at Matth. xxiv. 7 insurrections are 
expressly named among the influences which usher in the last times. 


With the appearance of Antichrist, accordingly, all order equally in 
church and state will tumble down, and the Satanic disorder of his 
government will alone exercise dominion, until through Christ s 
power the Lord s everlasting kingdom of peace shall be raised on the 
ruins of his universal monarchy after the last sore fight. Thus tak 
ing the prophecy, we adhere to the conception of the Roman Empire 
in its essential spirit, as the regulated politico-religious order of 
things in general, which for man s depraved condition is defined as 
divine order. By this means, then, it becomes explicable how Rome 
can be represented in Revelation, as the depositary of the Antichris- 
tian principle without any contradiction of Paul s description in this 
passage. For a twofold element is to be distinguished in Rome 
and the Roman state even as in Jerusalem and the Jewish people. 
First, the Divine calling and destination, and secondly the actual 
realization of the same. As Jerusalem was destined for the centre 
of the kingdom of God, but was turned into Sodom through its un 
faithfulness (Rev. xi. 8), so also Rome was intended to maintain the 
principle of right and order in the world, and it is under this aspect 
that Paul here considers it ; but in its outward manifestation it ad 
mitted info itself even Antichristian elements, in that it persecuted 
Christ s saints against all right, and in this point of view Rome ap 
pears in Rev. xvii. 3, 9 as the depositary of the Antichristian spirit. 
Conceptions apparently so different, and yet both founded on the 
essential features of the case, proclaim in the clearest manner that 
the apostles, taught by the Holy Ghost, uttered their prophecies with 
out external concert and conference. But that Paul here only points 
to the idea of the significance of the state and its relations to the de 
velopment of God s designs in humanity, and does not openly ex 
press it, need be referred to no special cause, since he supposes the 
knowledge of it in his first readers (ver. 6). It is the less possible to 
suppose any design to express himself mysteriously, as by this rep 
resentation so noble a position was appointed the Roman Empire. 

Ver. 8. -Paul now, in continuation of his communications as to 
the last times, describes Christ s victory over the hostile powers of 
Antichrist ; when the avopog thinks he has attained to all in the 
possession of his universal monarchy, in which he has united all 
spiritual and worldly power in his own person Christ will annihi 
late him by his appearance. Isaiah prophesying of the Messiah, ex 
presses the same idea in the words rrard^ei yr\v TW Adyw rov oro^a- 
rog avrov not iv nvevfian did ^eiAewv dvekei dcefiri (Is. xi. 4). But in 
the Apocalypse the appearing of Christ and his fight with Anti 
christ are described in such a way that " from his mouth issueth a 
sharp sword/ and Antichrist, together with his prophet and whole 
party, is conquered with it (Rev. xix. 15, 19, seq.) According to 
this," the sense of the words is that Christ merely by his word and 


his appearing, thus by the smallest means and the slightest trouble, 
will destroy the whole threatening power of Antichrist, which no 
earthly power could conquer. He ; from whom powers of the Al 
mighty issue, need only command, and the breath of his mouth (Ps. 
xxxiii. 6), the brightness of his appearance, suffice to annihilate all 
his adversaries. Ilvev^a here has no reference to the Holy Ghost, 
still less to storm, burning wind, but it denotes the breath of respi 
ration, as an expression of the word and of the will. The combina 
tion &m<j>dveta -i\q -rrapovoiag, which is found here only, is, however, 
peculiar. That is to say, commonlv KTn^dveia by itself denotes the 
advent (so especially Paul frequently in the Pastoral Epistles), as it 
in profane writers denotes Divine appearances on account of the 
blinding splendour of light, the 66%a, which was thought to be con 
joined with them. Here we explain the apparent tautology by re 
ferring iTTi<f)dvia to the subjective, napovaia to the objective, aspect, 
i. e., the latter expression to the actuality of Christ s appearing, the 
former one to the contemplation of it on the part of man, the con 
sciousness of his presence. (For dva/Maei A.B.D.F. read dveXel, 
which Lachmann has received into the text. But the more uncom 
mon dvakuaei is no doubt to be preferred, as dvsXd is, surely, only a 
gloss from Isaiah xi. 4. The word dvaXionu occurs elsewhere in the 
New Testament only at Luke ix. 54. The LXX. often use it for 
rfss or tfcn Gen. xli. 30 ; Numb. xi. 33. On Karapyelv, so familiar 
to Paul, see on Luke xiii. 7 ; Rom. iii. 31. It, of course, denotes here 
not absolutely to annihilate, but to make inoperative, to deprive of 
influence as Antichrist ; for, according to Rev. xix. 20, his condem 
nation in the lake of fire, not his entire annihilation, follows his sub 

Vers. 9, 10. The whole <5f ver. 9 has a parenthetical nature, 
for the ov KO-LV connects itself again with ver. 7. Here, the dno- 
KaXv^ig is called, by analogy with Christ s advent, also napovoia. 
True, the appearing of Antichrist on earth properly stands par 
allel to Christ s birth in the flesh, or the Lord s official, public, 
appearance at the baptism, but -rrapovoia is used for those also, 2 
Pet. i. 16, as i-i<pdvia is at 2 Tim. i. 10. Antichrist s coming, then, 
is brought into comparison with the earthly ministry of Christ, as 
exhibiting itself also as surrounded with all forms of wonderful ac 
tion, which,- however, are grounded, not, like Christ s miracles, in 
truth, but in falsehood, in that they are performed, not in God s 
power, but in Satan s. For the Apocalypse (xiii. 2) relates of An 
tichrist, Koi ZduKev avrti 6 dpdituv TTJV dvvapiv avrov not rbv Opovov 
avrov icdi KJ-ovaiav \ityaM\v. As, therefore, the Father gave all power 
to Christ, the Son, and lets him sit on his throne (Rev. iii. 21), so 
too in the diabolical imitation, Satan gives all his power to Anti 
christ, his dear son. But, as Satan himself is a created being, 


although a miglity one, the wonders also which he performs through 
Antichrist can be merely mirabilia, no true miracula. They will 
exhihit themselves as striking occurrences exciting outward atten 
tion, but without connexion with the salvation of mankind and the 
designs of the Divine government, such as marks the miracles of 
Jesus and the apostles ; consequently, as mere magical monstro 
sities. Nevertheless, they will yet be seductive enough for many 
a disorderly, unsettled, mind, as the remarkable word of the Lord 
at Matth. xxiv. 24 shews, according to which, if it were possible, 
even the elect might be seduced into error by the wonders of the 
false prophets. For the false wonders will not be done by Anti 
christ alone, but, as Christ imparted to his disciples also the gift to 
work miracles, so will also all the false prophets who accompany 
Antichrist execute lying wonders. In the Apocalypse the beast, 
which comes up out of the earth (xiii. 11), which has two horns like 
the Lamb, i. e., appears outwardly as a hypocrite, but speaks like 
the dragon, shews itself as a designation of the prophets of Anti 
christ, by means of whom men are brought to him. (See Rev. xvi. 
14, xix. 20.) It is quoted (Rev. xiii. 15) as an especially character 
istic wonder, that the spirit is given to an image of Antichrist, that 
it speaks, and thus invites men to the adoration of it. On the rela 
tion of the lying, seeming wonders of Satan, to the genuine Divine 
miracles of the Lord, as well as on the entrance of these phenomena 
into the highest developments of evil as of good, and their object of 
legitimizing the messengers of light as of darkness, and of serving 
for marks to recognize them for what they are, we have treated suf 
ficiently at Matth. viii. 1, in the general remarks on the miracles, 
and at Matth. xxiv. 24, to which we here wholly refer our reader. In 
like manner, the difference between the appellatives dvvapig, oqnelov, 
-Kpag, which terms are used likewise of the genuine miracles, has 
also been already spoken of at Matth. viii. 1. The genitive ipevdovg 
is of course to be referred to all three appellatives, for, as evil in 
itself is incumbered with contradiction, so too all that proceeds 
from it is intrinsically untrue ; its seeming strength is real want of 
strength. In what follows (ver. 10) KOL iv -ndcy d^d-tj T% ddiriac is 
put parallel with iv Trdaij dvvdnei. It may be said that the wonders 
themselves that proceed from Antichrist and his ministers are 
nothing but deceit ; still they are really astonishing, extraordinary 
operations in nature, which only have their foundation in the appli 
cation of demoniac powers. From these, therefore, other not won 
drous forms of deception are distinguished, which altogether pro 
ceed from, and are rooted in the disposition of unrighteousness. To 
draw men from God and to evil is to be imagined as the aim of these 
deceptions, as of the wonders ; but this only succeeds with those 
who perish (aTToAAvjutVotf), for God knows how to defend the 


rot through his grace ; according to Matth. xxiv. 24 with these de 
ception is impossible. This thought again exhibits Paul s theory of 
predestination, but only as developed at Rom. ix. The d-oAvUyievot 
arc not those lost through God s decree, through a decretum repro- 
bationis, but through their own act, because they, as expressed in 
the concluding words of ver. 10, receive not the love of the truth 
(rrjv aya-xr\v -rr\q dkrjOeiag OVK id^avro). They, therefore, might also 
have been saved through the -truth in Christ, if they had appro 
priated it to themselves in repentance and faith ; but they loved 
falsehood and darkness more than light, and continued, therefore, 
excluded from salvation. On the other hand, the elect attain to sal 
vation not through their merit, their fidelity, their faith, their per 
severance unto the end, but fidelity, faith, perseverance, are God s 
work in them ; there is a prcedestinatio sanctorum, but no rcpro- 
batio impiorum. (In ver. 9 iv before rolg aTroXXvfievois is wanting 
in A.D.F.G., and Lachmann has therefore cancelled it. But we 
can scarcely doubt that its omission has its origin purely in the 
twofold KV preceding, which seemed to the copyists an improper 
repetition of the preposition. The common reading is the correct 
one. The lv before fovdpei and aitary is nota dativi, the lv before 
aTTo/Ui^evoi^, = iv jizeerGj, the lost ones thus forming the circle in 
which these Satanic proceedings take place. Ver. 10. On dvd o>v, 
= -ITC.N nhn, see Luke i. 20, xix. 44 ; Acts xii. 23. The phrase ri\v 
dyd-xrjv rijg dkrjOeiag d^aoOai is significant. The natural man has no love 
for truth ; the awakening of a love for truth must therefore precede 
the reception of truth itself. Where the first advances of grace, 
which attempt to stir up the love of truth, are repulsed, there 
neither can truth itself be subsequently received.) 

Vers. 11, 12. God punishes sin by sin ; . therefore he sends to 
the lost ones, who through their fault did not allow the love for 
truth to be stirred up in their hearts, a strong delusion, that they 
may believe a lie. The energy of the tig ~6 } = iva 3 must not 
be weakened here (see on Matth. xiii. 14, 15 ; John xii. 40) ; it is 
precisely the judgment on obduracy which is described. (See on 
Horn. ix. 15.) In itself all obduracy need not be contemplated 
as absolute ; it can be relative, and can be subsequently overcome 
through a greater power of grace, and the obdurate one thus won for 
God. But here, where the latter days are spoken of, the progressive 
Iva KpiOtiai, with a reference back to okeOpog aluviog (i. 9), must be 
understood of eternal damnation. Thus KpiveoOat, is used by the 
writer KaraKpiveoOai } just as it is said in the parallel passage Rev. 
xix. 20 : " all who had received the mark of the beast, and wor 
shipped the image of the beast, were thrown into the lake of fire." 
Now in so far as in this passage the strong delusion (evepyeta 
at bottom denotes Antichrist himself, who accomplishes his 


deception in the Kvepyeia rov oa-avd (ver. 9), the -t^rra represents 
Antichrist as sent by God. The Lord God does not make Anti 
christ in so far as he is evil ; but he certainly makes him so 
far as he appears in this form and shape, under these circum 
stances and relations, which is denoted in a popular mode of expres 
sion by the term " permission." But the energetical Scripture 
language expressly brings forward even as to evil the positive aspect 
of the Divine work. (See on this point also the remarks on Horn. 
ix.) (The reading mfj.rrei is so well established by A.B.D.F.G. that 
it is to be preferred to the future nfyipei. Paul gives, prophetic 
ally, the whole description of ver. 9 as present ; a copyist, to whom 
this appeared unnatural, has, we may suppose, given its origin to 
TTK^et. To ipevdog does not refer to a definite single lie ; it rather 
denotes the element of falsehood, in opposition to ?} dMjOeia. [See 
on John i. 14, viii. 44.] The p] Trta-evuv -y d/{,7]0eia is the conse-* 
quence of the contempt of love for truth (ver. 10), and the evdoKuv 
KV ry dtiiKta is only the other side of non-belief. The craving nature 
of man absolutely requires some supporting point ; if it does not 
obtain it in truth, it turns to its contrary, falsehood, which, appre 
hended in its relation to the Divine will, i. e., to the law, is unright 
eousness (dSiitia). [See on Rom. iii. 21.] The KV before ry ddinia is 
wanting in B.D.F.G.; yet not even Lachmann has ventured deci 
dedly to reject it. The analogy of the Hebrew a nxn seems to 
favour its genuineness.) 

Vers. 13, 14. After ending this prophetic communication, Paul 
now returns to his readers, and once more declares his obligation to 
give thanks to God (comp. i. 3) that he had chosen them unto salva 
tion in Christ, and had thus preserved them from the perdition of 
those who allow themselves to be deceived by the Tr^avrj of Anti 
christ (ver. 11). This election by God Paul represents, after his 
manner, as an eternal one, which has proceeded dn dpx^g, i. e., npb 
arc/3oA /)f noapov (Eph. i. 4), d~b rtiv aluvuv (Eph.. iii. 9, 11). That 
this phrase asserts not a pre-existence of the soul, but only the 
decree of election, as one independent of time, to be placed in God, 
has already been fully proved at Eph. i. 4. On the formula ddetyol 
i}ya~f]i-it.voi cf. ibid. AipelaOai is here used as = t/c/ttygiv, see Phil. i. 
22. On the Alexandrian form eUaro for d Aero see Lobeck s Phry- 
nichus, p. 183. The reading dnap^v for an dp%j]g has doubtless 
arisen barely from a misapprehension. As Paul frequently talks 
of the first-fruits of conyersion [see on Rom. xvi. 5 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 15] 
that idea was thought to be found here too. The concluding words 
alone in ver. 13 cause difficulty, partly with regard to their con 
nexion with what preceds, partly with regard to the position of 
the two clauses. If we consider that both dyiaopos and -tang de 
note the subjective aspect, a connexion with dkaro seems unsuit- 


able, and iv ayma/zw, K. r. A., seems to aim at a closer definiteness of 
the oG)-rjpia. But, as salvation is the ultimate aim, on the attaining 
of which faith passes into vision, and sanctification into sanctity, 
this connexion seems surely nowise admissible. The connexion of 
the words with dXaro can, accordingly, be only taken thus : u God 
has chosen you unto salvation, in the design, or on the condition, 
that ye walk in sanctification of the Spirit and in belief of the 
truth." It follows of course that ^vEv^a here is not the human 
spirit, which is sanctified, but the Divine one, which sanctifies, so 
that it is parallel with the Divine trtitb. But with regard, secondly, 
to the collocation, it seems that belief in the truth of the gospel 
must precede sanctification by the Holy Ghost, as the cause precedes 
the effect. The interpreters pass over this difficulty, which, how 
ever, is not a slight one. We may suppose that Paul understood 
by the marig d^rjdeiag here the faith that is perfected in judgment 
also (see on 1 Thess. iii. 10), which presupposes sanctification, and not 
the entirely general faith, which is given with the very first elements. 
In ver. 14 the elg o cannot be joined with what immediately pre 
cedes, as it is usually taken ; for Paul cannot intend to say, " for 
that reason, because men are to walk in sanctification and faith, 
God has called them by means of the gospel." If Paul designed 
this connexion, he would have said, " in order that they may be 
able to walk," etc. The elg b tKaAeae can only refer to eiAaro, in 
this sense, " therefore, because God conceived the decree of elec 
tion from all eternity, he has also called the elect by means of the 
gospel ;" thus dg TrepiTroirjoiv dofyg comes to stand parallel with dg 
ovrripiav, and defines more exactly this general expression. It 
(1 Thess. v. 9) defines it, namely, to the purport that it is partici 
pation in the glory of Christ in the kingdom of God. (See 1 Thess. 
ii. 12.) 

Ver. 15. Paul now calls upon his readers, for the attainment of 
this end, not to let themselves be led astray (with reference to ii. 2), 
and to hold fast the doctrines which had been delivered to them. 
For the genuine apostolical -rrapadoaeig define the true nature of the 
gospel, which was just now designated as the means of calling men. 
If the gospel is changed (Gal. i. 6, 7) it must lose its efficacy. 
Paul now mentions a double form in which the Kapadooeig have been 
communicated to them ; by word of mouth and by writing they 
have been taught by him. But as he says & KmoToMjg there exists 
no reason for thinking here of any other written compositions than 
the first Epistle to the Thessalonians. (Kparelv stands here Ka-i- 
%EIV, which also occurs 1 Cor. xi. 2, in reference to the napadoaeif;. 
Compare Mark vii. 3, seq.) 

Vers. 16, 17. As God must give the success to every good thing, 
Paul prays in conclusion that he may afford to the Thessalonians 


also support for their life of faith, and the approving of it in word 
and work. But it is quite unusual that in ver. 1C, in the juxtapo 
sition of Father and Son, the name of the Father follows that of 
the Son, whereas it everywhere else precedes it. As to the rest, 
the designations of God are so chosen as to justify by their pur 
port the prayer for comfort and strengthening from God. For in 
the " who loved us" (dyairijaag ry/taf) is couched, as the aorist shews, 
the allusion to the work of redemption, as the greatest proof of 
the love of God towards man. If God has established the atone 
ment out of love, he will, surely, be also inclined to win men for it, 
and to preserve those won by his Spirit. In the second epithet, 
"who gave eternal consolation and good hope through grace" (dovg 
TrapdttXrimv aluviav KCU t-A/u&z dya0?)v iv ;\;apm) God is depicted as 
the source of comfort in the distresses of the present, and of good 
hope for the future, through the operation of his grace. The Trapa- 
nXrjai.^ is here called aluviog, only in opposition to the transitory 
and deceitful comfort from the earth, especially as hope is named 
besides. Comfort in general can find no application to eternity, as 
the sufferings which are presupposed by the application of it cannot 
have any place there. (In ver. 17 vpag is wanting in A.B.D.E.F.G., 
and is, with Lachmann and Schott, to be expunged from the 
text. Further, the collocation epyoj not Aoyw on the authority of 
A.B.D.E. seems to deserve the preference over the inverted collo 

(iii. 1-18.) 

Vers. 1, 2. In conclusion Paul calls on the Thessalonians also 
to pray for him; not to the end, however, that God may strengthen 
him and keep him in the faith, but only that God may be pleased 
to bless his labours. Paul supposes his own personal position in 
the faith as incapable of being lost ; he was so conscious of his 
election by grace that with him a falling away was out of the ques 
tion. Besides, it would have been against decorum for Paul to beg 
his disciples to offer up supplication to God for his preservation 
in the faith. The apostles were completely secured against every 
falling away from the faith with the possession of the Holy Ghost. 
See on Eph. vi. 19. O Aoyo$- rov tcvpiov, is here = evayy&iov rov 
Qeov. But Tpfyetv involves the contrast with being bound [2 Tim. ii. 
9]. A reference to Ps. cxlvii. 15 is certainly comprised in the term. 
Aoae<70ai here expresses the recognition of the gospel in its glory. 
Now, in order to be able there too, where he is now, in Corinth, to 


labour effectually for the gospel, as had been done among them in 
Thessalonica, he utters a wish to be delivered from all adversaries 
who hinder him. But whether these drorroi KOL Trovrjpol dvOpurroi 
(aroTTOf is, according to Hesychius /c0e<7juoc, ao%pdc) are to be 
looked for within or without the church depends on the meaning of 
the following, ov yap -nav-uv t] mane, and on the mode of connect 
ing those words with what precedes. As rriong has the article 
here, it can only mean the Christian faith, and not, for instance, 
" fidelity," as one might think from the marbq 6 icvpioc, which follows. 
But the idea " not all have the faith" is too trivial to be ad 
mitted, especially as Paul had only just uttered the wish that 
the gospel might spread. Accordingly, the clause can only im 
ply that all are not ready to receive the faith, that they strive 
against the Spirit who wishes to effectuate the faith in them, as 
Paul calls them at 2 Tim. iii. 8, dvOpw-oi Ka-efidapfievoi ~bv vovv } 
adomjjioi rrept rrjv monv. Still, this incapacity must not certainly be 
thought absolute, or even derived from a Divine decree, but from 
personal unfaithfulness And impurity. Now, if we ask after the 
connexion formed by ydp between this clause and what precedes 
the language, "that we may be delivered from wicked men, for 
all are not capable of faith," might mean, " that God may take 
them away from the earth, as there is certainly no prospect of their 
conversion." But, if we reflect that Paul himself in the first Epis 
tle to the Corinthians does not imprecate death on the incestuous 
man, but will only have him given over unto Satan for the saving of 
his soul, we must also here declare such a view entirely inad 
missible. As long as a man is in the life of this body there is also for 
him the possibility of conversion. Even incapability of faith and 
moral impotence can be removed through grace. PveoOai, therefore, 
can be understood here only of a deliverance by change of place and 
other circumstances, and not of death. Thus, then, it follows 
that the dvOpunoi d-oTroi and -novTjpoi must not be supposed members 
of the church, but persons out of the church, and, indeed, probably 
the Jews in Corinth, who had set so many persecutions on foot 
against Paul. (See Acts xviii. 12, seq.) 

Yer. 3. From himself personally Paul turns back directly 
to his readers, and utters the conviction that God would establish 
them and preserve them from evil. This cannot in the connexion 
imply every temptation, but such only as might proceed from the 
influence of such hostile persons as were described in ver. 2. No re 
lation at all is to be supposed between the 7710-6$ and the ma-iq which 
precedes. God s faithfulness refers purely to the calling of the 
Thessalonians unto the kingdom of God, by which the decree of 
election is pronounced, " and this," Paul means to say, " God will 
also faithfully preserve unto you by the removal of everything which 


can injure you in your life of faith." Considered in itself, the d^b 
rov Trovrjpov might assuredly be taken as neuter; but, as Paul ac 
knowledges evil to be embodied in Satan, as he expressly teaches a 
fight of the faithful with Satan (Eph. vi. 12), it is more conform 
able to the meaning of the author to keep to the masculine here 
also. As to the rest the drrb rov -ov-r^av refers only to 0uAaa, not 
to orrjpi&i too. The context is rather to be taken thus : " the Lord 
will establish you and, as being established, or after ye are estab 
lished, also guard you from the evil one." True, it might be said, 
that <j)vXdgei should then stand first ; for what is not yet established 
requires preserving from the fight, but not what is already estab 
lished. .But this objection disappears if AVC understand the (frvkdn- 
oeiv dno not of the keeping entirely remote from every fight, but of 
guarding in the fight. The being established, therefore, precedes, 
in order to make fit for maintaining the fight. 

Yers. 4, 5. The exhortation to obedience to his commands Paul 
pronounces in the form of sure confidence in the Lord. He there 
fore expects fidelity, not from the Thessalonians as such, but from 
the Lord who is efficient in them. It is unsuitable here to refer tV 
Kvpiu to Paul himself and his fellow workers, with ovreg supplied. 
The prayer which follows (ver. 5) suggests the conduct adapted to 
realize this obedience to the apostle s commands, viz., the directing 
of their hearts to the love of God and the patience of Christ. The 
combination " love and patience" does not allow us to understand the 
love of God merely of universal love. It must rather be referred to 
the manifestation of the love of God in Christ and his work of re 
demption. The vTTOfiovfj Xpiarov is, accordingly, also to be taken in 
a special sense of his patient surrender to death for the reconciliation 
of men ; and the sense of ver. 5 is accordingly this, " may God be 
pleased to direct your hearts to the centre from which all the strength 
of the Christian proceeds, viz., to love God s love as it manifests 
itself in the sufferings of Christ." 

Ver. 6. After this Paul delivers a command, and that in his 
apostolical authority in the name of Christ himself. This com 
munication which now follows enables us to perceive what moral 
injury the errors of the Thessalonians had brought on the church. 
What in 1 Thess. v. was but briefly hinted at, required now an open 
and very severe denunciation. On account of the supposed proxim 
ity of the kingdom of God, working had been given up by many, 
who now wandered about in fanatical idleness. However, there was 
yet a number of quiet persons also in Thessalonica who had not per 
mitted themselves to be carried away. It is to be presumed these 
were the elders. For this reason, Paul turns primarily to them, 
and calls upon them to give up communion with the brethren that 
walked in a disorderly manner. (For lv 6v6fian TOV Kvpiov the par- 
VOL. V. -22 


allel 6id rov Kvpiov stands in ver. 12. In it both the command of 
the Lord, and his power, which can effect the carrying out of that 
command, are pointed to. IreA/Udflai dno nvog, or dnoaTK/iXeaOai -ivo$ } 
denotes, like vTroareAkeadai [which, however, has rather the subordi 
nate idea of clandestine, Gal. ii. 12], " to separate, draw back one s- 
self from any one." [See Eurip. Suppl. v. 598.] Ver. 14 shews 
more nearly how Paul would have this understood here. Ver. 
11 further elucidates the import of the drdK-ug -xepi-narelv. We 
have no ground for supposing other causes of the disorderly life of 
the Thessalonians than merely Apocalyptic errors ; the irapadoois 
which Paul here mentions refers also merely to that. It expresses 
the obligation to await quietly the time and hour of the advent, 
without neglecting one s earthly calling. The discrepancy of the 
readings at the close of the verse is very great. The text. rec. reads 
TrapeAa/Se, with a reference to ddetyos the codices waver between 
eAa|3oaav, ~apeXd(3oaav y Traps Aa/3oi , rrapeAa/Sere, which last reading 
Lachmann has adopted on the authority of B.F.G. I, with Gries- 
bach, take -mtpekdpooav for the original reading ; first, because the 
more unusual form [See Winer s Gr. 13, 2], which, however, often 
occurs in the New Testament, might easily be changed into the 
more usual one ; then, because after the allocution dSetyoi the 
second person is expected rather than the third, or at least, with 
reference to the brother walking disorderly, the third person sin 

Vers. 7.-10. In order to convince the Thessalonians that were 
gone astray of their perverseness in giving up their handicrafts, Paul 
sets himself forth as an example to them ; with all his spiritual 
labours he had yet continually followed his handicraft too, and earned 
his own livelihood. It is true, he insists here too, that the privilege 
certainly belonged to him of allowing himself to be maintained by 
the churches, but, for the sake of the good example, he had made 
no use of the privilege. That this was not the only motive that 
led Paul to this conduct has already been remarked at 1 Cor. 
ix. 7, 8, at which passage consult the Comm. on the causes of this 
mode of proceeding in Paul. Paul had also already declared him 
self upon this point (1 Thess. ii. 9), partly in the same words. (Ver. 
7. AraKTelv is defined here by the context ; it denotes, " to give up 
the regular earthly calling." As at that time, so even now also, 
with the rousing of the soul to new life, a contempt of external ac 
tion is very apt to appear a tendency which he that has the cure 
of souls canno| too powerfully counteract. Ver. 8. AwpeoV is here 
a without labour," thus without having earned one s maintenance. 
For the phrase dprov Qayelv sr& Vss, and denotes here livelihood 
in general, as Kodietv in ver. 10. On tTTL^apr/aat sec at 1 Thcss. ii. 9. 
On K^ovaia see at 1 Cor. ix. 4, 5. Ver. 10. In the axiom, el rtc ov 


tpyd&aOai jUT/dt; eaOiKTCi), if any will not ivork, etc., is couched an 
allusion to Gen. iii. 19. It is an universal law in the world, that 
man should eat his bread in the sweat of his face ; he that has no 
business allotted him must therefore choose for himself a useful 

Vers. 11, 12. After this, what was merely intimated in ver. 6 
is more particularly set forth. Whether Timothy had brought the 
apostle the news of these disorders with him to Corinth, or whether 
he had received information elsewhere, is unknown ; but the former 
assumption is the more probable, "because a short time only seems to 
have elapsed between the composition of the two epistles. (Ver. 
11. The expression -neptepyd&aOai is significant ; it is found nowhere 
in the New Testament but here. Hesychius explains it by irpdaoeiv 
Trepiaad, to do superfluous, needless, things. It occurs so also at 
Sirach iii. 22. In this passage it is to be referred to the spiritual 
labours which were not enjoined on the Thessalonians [see on James 
iii. 1]. In their fanatical excitement they sought, it may be pre 
sumed, through a busy but unprofitable activity, more and more to 
inflame themselves and others by the idea of the proximity of 
Christ s coming. Ver. 12. Herd qovx ias of course only refers to out 
ward quiet perseverance at their handicrafts. O iavrtiv dp-og is 
bread earned by one s own labour, the livelihood which the handi 
craft afforded, in opposition to allowing orie s-self to be maintained 
by others.) 

Vers. 13-15. Instead of making the rebuke of the disobedient 
the next topic, Paul first introduces an exhortation to those that 
had continued firm, which is obscure in its connexion. Kako-xoielv 
can be taken in a perfectly general sense, like dyado-otelv 1 Pet. ii. 
15, or it can be understood of almsgiving, of doing good in the nar 
rower sense. But trustworthy passages are wanting to prove this 
latter meaning ; besides it will not well suit the context, for the ex 
hortation, not to grow weary in almsgiving, almost looks like a fa 
vouring of those lazy fanatics. But Koppc s opinion that Paul 
meant to say, " they should not support the lazy indeed, but the 
really poor they should," clearly introduces into the passage some 
thing which is not at all in it. We shall therefore be able to explain 
KaAoTroteZv only of doing good in general. But certainly the context 
requires us to refer KaXo-xoielv principally to the affectionate, indul 
gent, treatment of the brethren, so that ver. 15 contains a more par 
ticular elucidation of this term. In ver. 14 the connexion of dia TTJS 
iTnorofa~ig is disputable ; it admits of being joined with what precedes 
or what succeeds. The position of the TOVTOV, however, favours the 
former ; for, if the meaning were, " denounce him by a letter," TOVTOV 
would stand before &a Tijg Imaro^ ; then too the article would have 
to be omitted before K-xiaTohrj, as a definite epistle would be denoted by 


the rift. (But see Winer s remarks, Gr. p. 99, note.) As to the 
meaning of aTjfieiovaOat we may doubt whether it denotes indicare or 
adnotare. But in the former case r jiuv would scarcely be wanting ; 
we therefore prefer the meaning " to note." However, the term is 
not to be understood of an outward noting or registering, but figur 
atively of an inward noting in one s own mind. The areXteadai d-no 
in ver. 6 is more closely defined by firj owavapiyvvoOai here ; it denotes 
the breaking off church-communion (see on 1 Cor. v. 9), more inti 
mate intercourse, therefore qxcommunication, but in the lowest 
form. (See Winer s Encyclop. vol. i., p. 158, seq.) The aim of this 
punishment is humiliation, i. e., amendment, by true repentance. 
(See on iv-pz-xwQai at 1 Cor. iv. 14 ; Tit. ii. 8. E%0p6g as an anti 
thesis to ddeA06f denotes no personal enemy, but God s enemy, i. e., 
one altogether fallen away from the faith.) 

Ver. 16. A prayer for peace from the Lord of peace, who bears 
it complete in himself, and can, therefore, impart it to others in every 
relation for spiritual and external needs, then closes the epistle. 
(Lachmann has, after A.D.F.Gr., put romo in the text for rpoTrw. 
But, as the epistle is addressed merely to Thessalonians, this read 
ing seems quite inadmissible ; it might, according to Schott s pro- 
able conjecture, have crept in here from other passages, as 1 Cor. i. 
2 ; 2 Cor. ii. 14 ; 1 Tim. ii. 8.) % 

Vers. 17. 18. Paul usually dictated his epistles ; Timothy seems 
to have written these two. (See 1 Thess. i. 1 ; 2 Thess. i. 1.) But, 
to meet such abuses as were touched on at 2 Thess. ii. 2, Paul added 
a salutation with his own hand, as a mark of his genuine epistles. 
It might indeed surprise us that Paul promises this mark KV rcdoy 
Imoroky, whereas it is found in some only ; what was requisite, 
however, on this circumstance, has already been mentioned in the 
Introd. to these two epistles, 2. 








WE shall let Olshausen himself speak here, and shall only, where 
it appears necessary, supplement what he has written with some 
additional remarks.* 

The city of Philippi lay in Macedonia near to the Thracian 
boundary, at a distance from the sea, on which stood its haven 
Neapolis. It bore anciently the name of KpT/W&f, fountain-city ; 
but about 358 A. c. Philip of Macedon enlarged it, and called it 
after himself, Philippi. At a later period the Triumviri gained near 
this city the famous victory over the Kepublicans. As a result of 
that battle Roman colonists settled at Philippi, which, becoming a 
Roman colony, received the jus Italicum. (Cornp. on this and on 
the expression Trpwr?/ nokig, which is applied by Luke to the city 
Philippi, the Comm. on Acts xvi. 12.)f In that city, also, con 
tinues Olshausen, lived some Jews, who had there an oratory (no 
synagogue )4 This small Jewish community was increased by some 

* The introduction to this epistle, and that also to the pastoral epistles, is frim Ols- 
hausen s own pen, and was left in a state of complete readiness for the press. 

f I perfectly agree with what Olshausen remarks there on the trpurr) 7r6/Uf . It could 
not be called the chief city on the ground, to which reference is there made, that in that 
particular district, where Philippi lay, Amphipolis held such a place comp. Liv. xlv. 29. 
Equally groundless is the other opinion, that Philippi received the appellation on account 
of its peculiar privileges. The intention and meaning of this epithet, admit, on the con 
trary, in my judgment, of being perfectly determined from the connexion of the narra 
tive in Acts. It had already been intimated xvi. 6, 1 that the course which the 
proclamation of the gospel should take, was of Divine direction, In ver. 9 the vision is 
related in which a man from Macedonia calls on the apostle to " come over and help 
them ;" and in ver. 10, we are told of the apostle s straightway purposing to go into Mace 
donia. What, then, is more natural than that in the report of the journey at ver. 12, 
" and thence to Philippi, jjnf earl npuTTj r//f fj.pi6of Tijr; Manedoviaf Tro/lif, tcoAuvia," we 
should think of its geographical position, and in connexion with that should perceive a 
reference to the fulfilment of the call in ver. 9. Even the "thence," and the pronoun 
(fine, ut qua;) point to this. So, after Van Til, in particular Eettig. Quasst. Philipp. 
Giss. 1831, Van Hengel p. G, and "Winer Real- Wort. That the expression was literally 
correct in this view of it, since Neapolis was reckoned to belong to Thrace, see Van 
Hengel, Introd., p. 4. 

| Van Hengel, however, may be quite right in saying, that the expression in Acts 
xvi. 13, ov vo/ii&To irpoctvxii duai says nothing of an oratory, but only, as also Luther 
translates, where they were wont to pray. 


proselytes, and it was among these first that Christianity diffused 

Paul caine to Philippi on his second mission tour, about the year 
53. It was the first city of Europe in which he preached the gos 
pel. The first person who gave heed to the preaching of the apostle, 
was a seller of purple, by name of Lydia, belonging to Thyatira, 
who received baptism, with all her house. A female slave, who had 
a spirit of soothsaying, occasioned the apostle soon again to leave 
Philippi. For, when Paul expelled the spirit, the owners of the 
slave, who had employed her soothsaying to their own account, 
raised an outcry against him. He was beaten and thrown into 
prison, the jailor of which he converted, with all his house. He was 
soon, however, set at liberty again, with a request that he would 
leave the city. (Cornp. besides Acts xvi. 19, seq., also 1 Thess. ii. 
2.) It is only at Acts xx. 6, on the apostle s return from Greece, 
that we subsequently find him again at Philippi. But there is good 
ground for believing that on his going thither he had made a stay 
there, though, probably but a short one (Acts xx. 2), as is also sup 
posed by Van Hengel. 

According to our epistle the church in Philippi had exhibited 
the Christian life with remarkable purity.* The apostle says much 
good of it, and commends it more highly than any other church 
(ch. i. 3-8, iv. 1). On its part also, it clung with strong and lively 
affection to its teacher, which it endeavoured to evince by contribu 
tions of money, of which it sent one by Epaphroditus to Home, 
where he was in chains. This Paul gladly and thankfully received 
as an expression of their sincere love (iv. 10-18 ; 2 Cor. xi. 8, 9). 
This character of the church in Philippi, and the occasion of the 
epistle (it being a letter of thanks for the support ministered to 
him by the church), explains the fact. that this epistle, more than 
any other of Paul, should possess so entirely an epistolary character, 
full of warm and friendly feeling. It naturally arose from the gen 
eral relation of Paul as an apostle, and the special teacher of the 
Philippians, that exhortations should not be wanting ; but in gen 
eral Paul gives in this epistle utterance to his feelings, speaks freely 
of himself and of his ministry, even of his personal relation to the 
Lord, and his striving after perfection. So Olshausen. And cer 
tainly, more than any particular statements regarding the condition 
of the church, the tone of the whole epistle shews how much reason 
the apostle had to be satisfied with the Philippian church generally. 
A relation had been formed between him and this church, more near 
and intimate than with any other. He was not merely its apostle 

* On the condition of the church comp. J. Hoog de Ccetus Christ. Philipp. conditione 
primasva Lugd. B., 1825, and particularly Schintz. die Christliche Gemeinde zu Philippi, 
Zurich, 1833. 


and teacher, as in the case of other churches, hut was bound to them 
closely by ties of personal sympathy and affection. This everywhere 
discloses itself to us in perusing the epistle, and throws the clearest 
light on the state of the church itself. 

The supposition of Eichhorn, Rheinwald, and others, continues 
Olshausen, that Judaizing and Gnostic heretics had been at work at 
Philippi, is destitute of all semblance of truth. Judaizing heretics, 
like those who had been busy among the Galatians, are certainly 
described in Phil. iii. 2, seq., but not as if they were actually in 
Philippi, or had obtained influence among the Christians there. 
Paul warns them against the itinerant Judaists, who, he was well 
aware, would endeavour also at Philippi to undermine his labours. 
Not the least trace, however, of Gnosticizing false teachers is to be 
found in our epistle. The apostle certainly warns the disciples (i. 
27, seq.), very urgently and at some length against spiritual pride, 
and presents before them the Redeemer as an example of deep hu 
mility ; but there is an utter want of the more specific trails, which 
might justify us in regarding this discourse as directed against 
Gnostic presumption. The only actual evil to which the epistle 
bears distinct testimony, is that certain jarrings appear to have 
sprung up in the church (ii. 2, seq., iv. 2). These were probably 
occasioned by the conceit of some members of the church, and hence 
the apostle s extended exhortation to humility. 

This view of the state of the church at Philippi has been suc 
cessfully defended against the various dissenting opinions, by Schinz 
in his treatise on the Christian church at Philippi (Zurich, 1833). 
But when Schinz, at the close of his treatise, on the ground that the 
church at Philippi was infested by no heretical teachers, would 
prove that it was composed entirely of converted heathens, without 
any intermixture of Jewish Christians, he seems to go too far. The 
learned author, indeed, justly remarks that the epistle to the Phi- 
lippians contains absolutely no reference to the Old Testament. This 
indicates, he thinks, that the Chistians at Philippi were of heathen 
origin ; but the conclusion, as appears to me, is not sufficiently 
grounded. According to the teaching of the Apostle Paul the Old 
Testament was not merely for Jews and Jewish Christians, but also 
for the heathen and converts from among them. The Philippians 
must, besides, as proselytes, which they must have been according 
to Schinz s view, have been acquainted with the Old Testament. 
Hence, we may fairly regard the want of citations from the Old 
Testament in this epistle as accidental. 

But even granting that all the Christians at Philippi were born 
heathen, this would still not suffice to explain the freedom of the 
church there from false teachers. The Gentile Christians might, as 
readily have been misled as the Jewish ; nay, so far as regards the 


Gnostic tendencies, as they manifested themselves in Colosse, they 
were even more liable to deception, as they could not be so firmly 
settled in those fundamental views which the others had received 
with their mother s milk. We can ascribe the excellent condition 
of this favourite church of the apostle only to the fidelity of its mem 
bers, and to their preservation from seducers. 


There can be no doubt as to the occasion of the epistle and its 
immediate object ; its contents render both abundantly plain (iv. 
10-20). In its immediate design it was a letter of thanks from the 
apostle to the church at Philippi for the support ministered to him 
at Home through Epaphroditus. The apostle gave this letter to the 
bearer of this gift of love, as he was about to return (ii. 25, seq.), 
as, at the same time, a testimonial to him. With the expression 
of his thankfulness he couples accounts concerning himself, as was 
due to a people who had given him such a proof of their profound 
fellow-feeling by the gift of love they had sent him. But he ad 
dresses also a word of exhortation and warning to them ; for how 
ever satisfactory might be the condition of the church as a whole, 
there still could not fail to be short-comings in the Christian life 
among them, and dangers from without. And he may perhaps 
have learned as much from Epaphroditus respecting the church. 
These are the essential component parts of our epistle, very natur 
ally and simply arising out of the existing relations. 

After the introduction, i. 1-11, follow first of all the apostle s 
reports concerning himself, 12-26. Then comes a word of exhorta 
tion to the church, i. 27 ii. 18, followed up by the section ii. 19- 
30, in which the apostle shews how he also in point of fact cares 
for the church. Then passing to the conclusion, he adds a double 
warning, iii. 1 iv. 1. Some special admonitions are then given, iv. 
2-9, after which he expresses his gratitude for the gift that had 
been sent, 10-20. Salutations and the usual benediction form the 
conclusion, 21-23. How naturally these several parts of the epistle 
adhere together, how clear and easy the connexion and progress of 
thought is throughout the entire epistle, I deem it unnecessary to 
exhibit farther here, as it will be made to appear in the exposition it 
self. Though the object of the epistle possesses no force to control its 
particular parts, and mould them to its own unity, this unity only dis 
covers itself the more palpably in its tone and tenor. Not only the 
circumstance of the epistle resting upon the ground of a close per 
sonal relation, indicating and expressing in all its parts the heart 
felt love of the apostle to this spiritual community, so that more 


than other epistles it appears a genuine outpouring of cordial affec 
tion, and bears a familiar character ; not only does this general 
tenor of the epistle, which suits its character so well as a letter of 
thanks, give to it an impress of unity, but there is one thing espe 
cially which may be regarded as the key note of the epistle, which 
is ever and anon struck, and pervades the whole ; the feeling of joy 
with which the heart of the apostle was filled, and to which he 
sought also to raise his beloved Philippians. This shews itself even 
on the surface in the frequently recurring %atpco and xaipere, but still 
more to a profoundly penetrating scrutiny. From this springs the 
declaration "I rejoice/ made in i. 18; in relation to this joy he 
utters the exhortations in i. 27 ii. 18. With a call to rejoice, he 
commences anew at iii. 1, while again at the close, iv. 4, he exhorts 
the whole church above all to rejoice. 


We point here, in the first instance, to what Olshausen has 
written in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Introd. 
3. He justly maintains, that the Epistle to the Philippians, on 
account of the similarity of the relations under which it was com 
posed, cannot in respect to time have been far separate from those 
to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. 

In the serial connexion also of these four epistles, there exists a 
proof that the Epistle to the Colossians and that to Philemon were 
composed at the same time ; then the Epistle to the Ephesians, at 
the most only a few weeks later ; and finally comes the Epistle to 
the Philippians, composed in the latter period of the apostle s impris 
onment, as the three others were during the earlier. This suppo 
sition in respect to the Epistle to the Philippians is justly grounded 
on the passages i. 12, seq., ii. 26, seq., according to which the apos 
tle had already spent a considerable time in the place of his impris 
onment, and was able to mark the fruit of his labours. Further 
also, upon iii. 24, where it is said that he would soon come to them, 
while the distant hope of this is only for the first time expressed in 
Philem. 22. And we might add, on the probable supposition of 
Epaphroditus (Phil. ii. 25) being the same person as the Epaphras 
named in Col. i. 17, iv. 12 ; Philem. 23, that as he was the bearer of 
the epistle to Philippi, this epistle must have been composed later 
than those in which he is spoken of as present. 

Where now was the place of composition ? Apart from the 
supposition of (Eder (do tempore et loco epistolae ad Philippenses 
scriptee, Onoldi, 1731), who ascribes it to the one and a half year s 
sojourn of the apostle in Corinth, which is disposed of by the sin- 


gle fact that Paul suffered no imprisonment during that time, a 
double course lies open ; either to suppose the period that of the 
imprisonment in Cresarea (Acts xxiii. 23, scq.), or that of the first 
Eoman imprisonment (Acts xxviii. 16, seq.) The latter is the view 
of most recent interpreters (Bertholdt, Hug, Kheinwald, Flatt, De 
Wette, Matthies, Meyer, Neander, etc.), as it is also the tradition 
of the church, comp. the passages in Holemann (p. 11), and the sub 
scription at the end of the epistle. 

It was ascribed to the Cassarean imprisonment, first by Dr. 
Paulus (in a Programme of 1799, and in the theol. Lit.-Bl. Zur Allg. 
Kchztg. 1834, No. 140), and afterwards by Bottger (Beitrage Gott, 
1837). Bottger argues there with much learning and acuteness 
from the judicial proceedings at Rome, that Paul could not have 
been detained long at Rome ; at the most, five days. But on the 
other side, see Neander s just and important remark (History of 
Planting, etc., 4th ed., i., p. 469), that the delay of five or ten days 
did not refer to the continuance of the judicial procedure, but to the 
objection against the appeal (= literee dimissome) ; that it indi 
cated nothing as to the duration of the action itself. Farther, Bott 
ger seeks to prove the agreement of the Acts with this event, and 
to invalidate the data, which have usually been regarded as decisive 
in the Epistle to the Philippians, for referring it to the Roman 
imprisonment. These are the passages, i. 13, and iv. 22, which 
speak of a Trpai-upiov, and an ohia Kaiaapo^. Bottger has certainly 
proved that these expressions are not conclusive in behalf of Rome, 
but were also applicable to palaces of the emperor out of Rome, 
as, in particular, we read of the Trpairupiov of Herod, in Acts xxiii. 
35, and as Olshausen remarks there, the epistles elsewhere pre 
sent too few determinate points of contact for deciding. But as 
regards the close of the Acts, I must entirely accord with Olshausen, 
that it does not square with Bottger s supposition of an imprison 
ment of a few days. Neander justly remarks, in the place referred 
to above, that we cannot imagine, if, as Bottger maintains, the 
apostle s liberation lay between ch. xxviii. 16, and ver. 23, Luke 
should have failed to notice it. And what must the words xxviii. 
30, 31, "And he abode two whole years in his own hired house, and 
received all that came in unto him, no one forbidding him," indi 
cate, if not the still advantageous position of the apostle, notwith 
standing his continued imprisonment ? Do these words admit of 
being understood of the contrast, as Bottger supposes, between the 
rest which Paul now enjoyed, and the storms of his past life ? The 
notices in the Acts, therefore, do not here withdraw from us the 
historical ground for the composition of the four closely connected 
epistles. We may add that Aristarchus and Lucas, according to 
Acts xxvii. 2, were with the apostle in Rome, and we also find them 


both actually with him in Col. iv. 10 ; Philem. ver. 24 ; that Paul, 
according to Eph. vi. 19, 20, had freedom to preach the gospel ; 
that according to i. 12, seq., of our epistle, important results had 
sprung from his imprisonment, as also that the apostle awaits the 
final decision of his cause either for life or death (i. 20), yet with a 
confident anticipation of deliverance and of heing able soon again 
to visit the Philippians (i. 25, 26 ; ii. 24). Uniting all these circum 
stances, we cannot wonder that neither Olshausen nor the more re 
cent expositors, as De Wette, Meyer, and Neander (in his history 
of the Planting, etc.), have dissented from the view of Bottger, and 
adhered to the tradition of the church. 

The composition of the epistle consequently falls, according to 
the common reckoning, in the year 63 or 64. 


Olshausen could justly say, " the Epistle to the Philippians be 
longs to the few writings of the New Testament, whose genuineness 
has never been called in question." But since then, D. Baur (in his 
Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, Stuttg., 1845), has extended his 
attacks against the New Testament writings also to this epistle 
without, however, having yet met with approval. Apart from 
Schwegler (Nachapostolisches Zeitalter, 1846, ii., p. 133-135), all 
the more recent commentators appear as defenders of the epistle, 
and Lunemann and Bruckner have vindicated it in separate produc 
tions (Pauli ad Phil. ep. contra Baurium defendit Lunemann, Gott., 
1847, and Bruckner : ep. a Phil. Paulo auctori vindicata contra 
Baurium. Lips. 1848). So also Meyer in the critical remarks of his 
commentary, p. 61, etc. The epistle is so well accredited by the 
testimonies of ecclesiastical antiquity* (see these in Rheinwald, p. 
42, seq., Holemann, p. 32, seq.) ; its matter and tone give so little 
ground for suspicion of any designed falsification ; it bears through 
out, according to the general judgment, so thoroughly the Pauline 
impress, that its authenticity, if that of any, must be regarded 
as unquestionable. What grounds, then, has Baur for calling in 
question the general opinion ? There are three points chiefly, 
which he reckons unfavourable to the epistle. 1. The epistle moves 
in the circle of Gnostic ideas and ex